Laura V. Panka

February 25, 2022


Laura V. Panka, age 55, of Chicago, beloved wife of James T. Blazek, passed away peacefully at their home on Friday, February 25. She was born in the Lithuanian community of Marquette Park to immigrant parents that came to America following World War II. Laura grew up speaking both languages and was surrounded by loving aunts, uncles and cousins. She worked several years for the Chicago Reader newspaper before enrolling in culinary school and then spent 25 years as a chef at Equity Group Investments. She also operated her own catering business with a roster of Gold Coast clients who appreciated her talent and drive for perfection. Laura loved outsider art, music, travel, food and good conversation. Wherever she went, people were drawn to her beauty, wit, charm and generosity. She was preceded in death by her mother Birute Panka nee Laureckis and her father Julius Panka. In addition to Jim, her husband of 31 years, she leaves behind two older brothers, Arthur and Tommy, both of the Chicagoland area, and numerous cousins.

Funeral services are being arranged and will be held at a later date. Visit Cooney Funeral Home for updates.

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