Petrak, Melva Eileen
Melva Eileen Petrak, 93, of Coralville, died at Mercy Iowa City on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, surrounded by her family, under the care of Iowa City Hospice. Visitation will be Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Lensing Funeral Home, 605 Kirkwood Ave., Iowa City. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Iowa City. Burial will follow at St. Joseph’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either St. Mary’s or Iowa City Hospice.
Melva was born Sept. 3, 1919, in Oxford, Iowa, the daughter of James and Winifred Cooney Leeney. She was the second of five Leeney daughters: Vivian (Hedges), Bernice (Kron), Mary (Kallaus) and Marge (Thormann). She graduated in 1938 from Oxford High School, where she also played basketball. Melva obtained nurses aide certification through the University of Iowa, where she worked in pediatrics for two years. Melva moved to Detroit, Mich., where she got a job at Chrysler as “Rosie the Riveter,” working on airplanes during the war. When the war ended she worked on Chrysler cars.
Melva married Richard Petrak, of North Liberty on April 29, 1944. After eight years in Detroit they returned to Iowa City in 1951, and purchased a home in Coralville, the only home they ever lived in. They had three children: Ann, Bill and Mike. She worked at Oaknoll for 10 years and at Hillcrest Dormitory for 14 years.
Melva enjoyed bowling and also liked playing cards, especially euchre. She liked the Cubs and the Hawkeyes. She was a member of the Coralville Rec Center’s exercise group and she lived independently until recently. At age 81 she traveled to Ireland with family to celebrate her Irish heritage. At 85, she went to Scotland. At 90, she celebrated with a large party at St. Mary’s. Melva recently traveled to Denver with family to celebrate Thanksgiving with all of her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed her Coralville neighbors, including longtime friend Julie Weidner.
Survivors include her children, Ann (Kevin) Satterly of Coralville, Bill (Cindy) Petrak of Waukee and Mike (Missy) Petrak of Denver, Colo.; and grandchildren, Ryan and Nicole Satterly, Jacob and Nate Petrak and Hannah and Nick Petrak.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Richard; and her four sisters.
Online condolences may be left at www.lensingfuneral.com
Published Jan. 12, 2013 in The Gazette