Weather Updates

Joan Kosinski, who assisted many Polish-American causes, dies at 77

Obit phoJoan Kosinski

Obit photo of Joan Kosinski

storyidforme: 33300076
tmspicid: 12157251
fileheaderid: 5556809

Updated: August 10, 2012 6:33AM

As a generous supporter of Polish-American causes in Chicago, Joan Kosinski was often one of the first to offer help and one of the last to seek recognition.

Whether it was for a local artist or young musician, a fund-raiser or a ball, Mrs. Kosinski provided whatever assistance she could to help keep the Polish-American community vibrant.

“You could pretty much always count on her to help you get through something,” said Maria Ciesla, president of the Polish Museum of America. “She just shared and gave of herself so very much to everyone. But she always wanted to be in the background when she did it.”

A 40-year board member and past president of the Polish Museum of America, Mrs. Kosinski was also a former president of the Legion of Young Polish Women and served on the board at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital. She was actively involved with the Polish Arts Club and the Polish Women’s Civic Club.

On June 29, Mrs. Kosinski died at Rush University Medical Center of complications related to a heart attack, according to her niece. She was 77.

A longtime South Side resident, Mrs. Kosinski and her husband ran a successful manufacturing company that made aluminum cases.

“They were a very religious couple and they felt that they needed to share their good fortune, and they did,” Ciesla said. “It was very quiet, quiet philanthropy.”

Mrs. Kosinski donated to many organizations, including the Arthritis Foundation and the Polish American Engineers Association. For fund-raising events, she would frequently contribute prizes, take out advertisements and purchase seats for many guests. Her home was filled with artwork from local Polish-American artists whom she supported, and she helped finance young debutantes so they could attend the Legion of Young Polish Women’s White & Red Ball.

In 2010 Mrs. Kosinski was named one of the “Outstanding Women in Philanthropy” by the Cook County Circuit Court. She and her husband also received the Polish Museum of America Polish Spirit Award and the Advocates Society Award of Merit.

“She was quiet, steady and strong. Very humble, and just had a heart of gold,” said Mary Sendra Anselmo, president of the Illinois division of the Polish American Congress. “A lot of people looked up to her. She mentored people from all different walks of life.”

Mrs. Kosinski, born April 7, 1935, grew up in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, where her parents settled after emigrating from Poland. Her family opened Stanley’s Tavern, 42nd and Ashland, in 1935, and it is currently run by Mrs. Kosinski’s sister.

In 2007, Mrs. Kosinski’s husband was struck and killed by a truck while crossing a street near the tavern.

“They had been together all the time,” Anselmo said. “She really missed him.”

Mrs. Kosinski is survived by her daughter, Maria Kosinski-Weihing, and sister, Wanda Kurek.

Services have been held.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.