Angela Catherine Roepke
03/31/1922 - 05/28/2023
Obituary For Angela Catherine Roepke
Angela Catherine Roepke (nee Tolkacz) passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, May 28, 2023, surrounded by family and her faithful dog, Jojo. She was 101 years old. Angela was born on March 31, 1922, in St. Louis, MO, to Walter and Angela (Kernan) Tolkacz. She grew up in Webster Groves, MO, with her beloved parents and sisters, Virginia (McCarthy) and Alice (Hellrung). She had an idyllic childhood full of family pranks, adventures in Dad’s car to get Pevely ice cream and at least one case of Malaria after too much fun swimming in the Meramec River.
She attended Holy Redeemer School and was a member of the Nerinx Hall class of 1939. She had many fond memories in the original Loretto building on the Nerinx campus. Throughout her Catholic education she developed a fierce devotion to the Blessed Mother and swore St. Anthony had found her reading glasses more than once.
She was a respectful and determined student, however she did climb out of her history class window once or twice when the lectures became too dull. Her parents made sure that all three of their girls were able to get a college degree, this during an era when women’s education was often overlooked. Angela graduated from Maryville College of the Sacred Heart in 1944 with a degree in sociology, which probably explains why she was able to enter any group of people at a party and shine.
She spent some time traveling with her lifelong adventure companion, her little sister “Lish” after college. There are many stories that could be told about these youthful escapades; however, you would get a different version of each story depending on which sister you would ask. Her travels continued into her eighties when she began to collect stones, beads and unique pieces that would eventually make their way into her beautiful, handmade jewelry of which she was immensely proud.
In 1948 she began her greatest adventure when she married the love of her life, our wonderful Dad and Pup, Robert Roepke. They married on May 6th of that year and went on to have three children: Angela Day (Zylka), Robert Keith and Catherine Mackle (Taylor) who eventually gave them their most precious gifts, their eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. The Roepkes moved to Edwardsville, IL, in 1959 and quickly became pillars of the community and friends to all they met.
Angela firmly believed that no one should celebrate a holiday or milestone alone and welcomed dozens of people into her home as adopted members of the family over the years. As a mother and a grandmother, Angela–or “Nana” and “Gammy” as the younger generations knew her–shone. She was a constant example of grace, empathy, generosity, and unconditional love.
She told anyone who would listen what a wonderful life she had and even in her final years, her curiosity, wit, and love of life never faltered. Her favorite pastimes included attempting to teach her grandchildren proper etiquette, creating beautiful embroidery, shopping for fabulous clothing that only she could possibly get away with wearing and dominating her opponents in bridge. She was also a die-hard Notre Dame football and Cardinals baseball fan. She was truly loved by all that knew her, and the world will be a less beautiful place without her light and her laughter.
Angela was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Virginia, and her beloved “Honey” Robert. She is survived by her sister, Alice, and her children Angela Zylka of Edwardsville, IL, Robert Keith Roepke and his wife Heidi of Chesterfield, MO, and Catherine Taylor of Troy, IL. Also surviving are her grandchildren, Anastasia Zylka, Catie Taylor, Alexandra Hildreth (Drew), Peter Zylka (Sarah), Kelly Stutz (Matt), Grant Taylor, Erin Roepke and Sarah Taylor (Colleen), and her great-grandchildren, Lucy Zylka, Rose Zylka, Owen Stutz, Iris Zylka, Margot Hildreth, Xander Stutz, and Molly Zylka, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and countless friends.
All are welcome to attend a celebration of life to be held at Angela’s childhood parish, Mary Queen of Peace, in Webster Groves, MO, at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 24, with visitation immediately preceding the service from 10:30 a.m. There will be a private burial at a later date. The family asks that friends and family wear bright colors to the service to honor Angela’s love of color and fashion. The family wishes to thank the many people who helped care for Angela in the final year of her life, and in particular would like to thank the wonderful men and women of the Troy, IL EMS who were always professional, kind and compassionate. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Troy Fire Protection District EMS at 116 West Clay St., Troy, IL 62294, or to the Loyola Academy of St. Louis at 3851 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108.
Celebration of Life