Charlene “Boots” (née Just) Wisniewski Eike, 81, of Ottawa, passed away peacefully at the home of her loving niece, Kathy Ann Wisniewski in St. Louis, Missouri, on Saturday, June 27, 2020. She was born on April, 17, 1939 in LaSalle, IL, the third and youngest child to the late Charles and Marie (née Jasper) Just.
Boots was a graduate of St. Patrick Grade School in Ottawa, Marquette High School and Saint Xavier University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education. She spent most of her career as an educator at Wallace Grade School. She cherished the relationships she made with her students and with her faculty peers over the years.
In 1962, she married James H. Wisniewski, with whom she had two children. Jim passed away on September 18, 1970. On August 10, 1976, Boots married Kenneth Eike. Ken predeceased her on May 8, 2019.
She is survived by her children, David (Kim) Wisniewski of Portland, Oregon, Donald (Anne Riordan) Wisniewski of South Bend, Indiana, David (Cynthia) Eike of Alpharetta, Georgia, and Lynnette (Keith) Lambert of Ottawa; eleven grandchildren, Corbin (Dave) Metz, Carlin (Ryan) Warren, Zachary Lambert, Jacob Lambert, Matthew Lambert, Lucas Lambert, Kyla Wisniewski, James Wisniewski, Kevin Wisniewski, Rosemary Wisniewski, and Andrew Wisniewski; and her sister, Leone Hynds of LaSalle.
Boots was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, James Wisniewski; her husband, Kenneth Eike, her daughter-in-law, Cydney Eike; and her sister Delores Lee.
In her younger years, she was a local tennis star including Ottawa City Champion. At Marquette High School, she was a class officer and involved in many activities including cheerleading, Sodality, and the president of the Girl’s Athletic Association. In 2000, she was inducted into the Marquette Hall of Fame.
During her senior year in high school, she was named the Junior Catholic Daughter of the Year of the Americas and Puerto Rico. She was also awarded the CDA Pearl Ring for Outstanding Character. She continued her love of CDA throughout her life by serving multiple officer positions locally, regionally, state-wide, and nationally.
In 1974, she became the first female Ottawa YMCA boy’s basketball coach so that her twins could play on the same team together. Little did she know then that the widowed father of one of the boys on the team would eventually become her husband, Ken Eike.
She was an avid Cubs fan and especially cherished the time when her twins surprised her for Mother’s Day in 2018 for a Cards/Cubs game. Each year, she looked forward to her Women’s Annual Weekend Away (WAWA) with Kathy Wisniewski, Marcia Wisniewski, and Ellen Bonacorsi often landing in Las Vegas. She could often be found playing her favorite penny slot machine, Cashman.
Above all else, she loved her family and special times with her children and grandchildren. Her deep faith and spirituality were the foundation of her life’s work in education and bringing people together. With her loving and generous heart and the hundreds of greeting cards she sent each year, Boots impacted and connected with the lives of so many. She recently wrote, “When the time of our particular sunset comes, our accomplishments won’t really matter. But the clarity and care with which we have loved others will speak with vitality of the great gift of life we have been for each other.” Boots has been welcomed into heaven and is now being led to the nearest casino.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a private Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, July 3 at St. Columba Church, Ottawa with Rev. David Kipfer officiating. Private burial will follow at St. Columba Cemetery. Ottawa Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. Pallbearers will be her grandsons.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to St. Columba Church, Marquette Academy, Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Wallace Grade School, or the beneficiary of your choice in her name. Additional information can be found on the Charlene “Boots” Eike Memorial Page on Facebook.