Terrence R. “Terry” Mrakava, 74, a former educator at two Southwest Side Catholic elementary schools who later worked in the financial industry, died Feb. 6, 2020.
Mr. Mrakava, a longtime Clearing resident, taught from 1968 to 1972 at St. Camillus School in the Garfield Ridge community. He was a teacher at St. Joseph-St. Anne School in Brighton Park from 1973 to 1979 and served as principal there from 1979 to 1981.
Between those local assignments he taught for one year at St. Nicholas-St. Louis School in the Roseland neighborhood from 1972 to 1973.
After Mr. Mrakava concluded his teaching career with the Archdiocese of Chicago, he worked at Continental Bank downtown and then became a senior marketing manager with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT).
Born in the West Elsdon community to the late Frank and Florence (nee Kowalski), Mr. Mrakava graduated from St. Turibius Elementary School and De La Salle Institute. He attended the former St. Procopius College, Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois in Chicago, then known as Circle Campus, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree.
Mr. Mrakava was a passionate fisherman, a devotion he shared with his father and elder brother who taught him the initial techniques and brought him to some of the locations Mr. Mrakava would grow to love. He fished with them from the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago to the Pacific Ocean coast in California, as well as many other locations including Wisconsin, Montana and Colorado.
Fly fishing and spin-casting were the styles he liked most, recalled his brother. He said that Mr. Mrakava tied his own flies and would sometimes work a single spot in a river or stream, even if the catch-count was low, just for the enjoyment of the fly fishing process in that particular place.
Well-read, with a quick and sharp wit, Mr. Mrakava enjoyed the music of the Grateful Dead and several classical composers. He built and flew precision, lightweight model aircraft he made from blueprints and wood. He was a longtime member of the Illinois Model Aero Club and was a prizewinner in many of the club's competitions.
"He was a pretty good athlete and he adapted to a number of careers," said his lifelong friend James Borowicz. "Teacher, principal, banker and a professional in the marketing department at the CBOT. He excelled at all." Mr. Mrakava and Mr. Borowicz were born on the same day at Mercy Hospital, Chicago, where their mothers met in the maternity ward. The boys grew up together, attended some of the same schools and even worked together at the bank and the CBOT.
Mr. Mrakava is survived by his best friend and companion, Janice Rigan; son, Anthony E. (Carolyn Nowakowski) Caciopo; brother, Thomas (Madeline); sister, Carol (Donald) Birmingham; granddaughters Karla and Katerina Rigan; three nieces and a nephew.
He was preceded in death by his wife, June.
Services were private, with arrangements made by Kowske-Wolowiec Funeral Directors, Inc. Online tributes are available at www.parksidechapels.com
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