Suzanne Kotrba, age 87, passed away at Froedtert Pleasant Prairie Hospital on April 20, 2022 due to complications from living a long life.
She was born March 14, 1935 in Chicago, IL, daughter of the late Samuel and Anna C. (Gombar) Kalnicky. Although Suzanne grew up in Chicago, she spent many summers during grade school years on her Grandma Gombar’s farm in Wisconsin. She graduated from Chicago’s John Hay elementary school in 1948 and Providence High School on June 9, 1952. She attended Mundelein College for one year and then entered the convent on September 8, 1953, with an eventual name change to Sister M. Alan, PHJC.
Suzanne received her RN diploma from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago on Sept. 25, 1959, and a Registered Nurse License for the State of Indiana the following April. She graduated with a BS degree in Biology from Loyola University on June 9, 1964 and received her first Medical Technologist registration in 1965 from St. Anne’s Hospital School of Medical Technology. While at St. Anne’s, she was a Staff Technologist, Hematology Supervisor and eventually a Chemistry Supervisor.
She transitioned out of her religious community in 1969, and began working at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago, becoming a Chemistry Supervisor there as well. She subsequently worked at Memorial Hospital of DuPage County in Elmhurst, Northern Illinois Clinical Lab, and Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, IL.
On June 29, 1973, Suzanne married James F. Kotrba, Jr. and moved to the Chicago suburbs. They enjoyed family get-togethers and particularly the holidays since she excelled during the Christmas season with traditional Slovak baked goods, using recipes handed down from her mother. Suzanne’s home offered an entertaining outdoor parade of birds, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, deer and ducks.
She volunteered for 20 years at Good Shepherd, usually in the rehabilitation center, and walked dogs at Save-A-Pet no-kill rescue in Grayslake. Some of Suzanne’s family fondly referred to her as Superwoman since she had both knees and both hips replaced, a rebuilt right elbow and survived cancer twice.
Suzanne and Jim made annual month-long trips to Florida in later years to temporarily escape frigid weather. She cared for Jim during his final years as he battled cancer, and after his passing in 2018, she moved to Wisconsin to be closer to other family members.
Suzanne is survived by her stepson James F. (Jeannette) Kotrba (Minooka, IL), step-grandchildren Kiani, Macario, Martina and Mariano Kotrba; an uncle, Jacob Gombar (Kenosha); and many beloved cousins and other family members.