Angela M. “Angie” Lexa, 84, of Sycamore, formerly of Elburn and Virgil areas, past owner of The Kountry Kettle, passed away at her home, surrounded by the love and prayers of her family, on Friday, March 21, 2014.
She was born Jan. 29, 1930, the daughter of Nicholas and Katherine Schramer.
Angie grew up in Virgil, helped with chores on the family farm and attended local schools. Later she attended beauty school. Her studies kept her busy, but not too busy to be courted by William L. “Bill” Brummel.
They were soon married at S. S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church on May 20, 1950. Bill and Angie made their home in Virgil, where Angie worked as a hairdresser out of her home. Their family began to grow and eventually filled the house with 10 children and thousands of memories.
After Bill’s passing in 1967, Angie continued waitressing for a time before the family moved to Mooseheart in August of 1967. Angie never shied away from work and began working in the kitchens of Mooseheart. While there she met Zdenek “Dennis” Lexa, who had three children of his own and were also residents of Mooseheart. Dennis proposed on their second date and they were married six months later on April 11, 1970. The family grew by two more soon thereafter for a total of 15 children.
Angie may have started her cooking career in the kitchens of Mooseheart, but she stood on her own when she started a catering company she ran out of her kitchen in 1975. Six years later, she and Dennis purchased the Elburn Kountry Kettle in 1981. The business would stay in the family when it was bought by her daughter, Mary, in 1996. Angie left the kitchen in 2002 to focus on her “grandma duties.”
Angie and Dennis, and their “blended” family, made their home in Lily Lake. Later, in 1990, they moved to Elburn. Following Dennis’ passing in 2002, Angie moved to Sycamore, where she continued to make memories with each new generation of grandchildren.
Angie was a lifetime member of S.S. Peter & Paul Catholic Church.
Angie had a big and loving heart, but as all 15 children can attest to, she had an even bigger “wooden” spoon, which helped keep everyone in line and the house in order. When the grandchildren came into the picture, the spoon disappeared because, in grandma’s eyes, they could do no wrong.
Making daily meals for such a crowd was no mean feat, but that was nothing when it came to the holidays. Two turkeys and a ham were commonplace, but one year it was a 44-pound bird that took the cake. Putting bricks in the oven to lower the shelves just didn’t do the trick, so they had to cut the turkey in half and cook it in two pots, much to Angie’s chagrin.
Her hospitality at the restaurant was legendary, but it was born in her home. Visitors would have a plate of food in hand before they even had a chance to sit down. With a house always full with kids, grandkids, friends and neighbors, it wasn’t unusual for Angie to keep up with five conversations at once.
As well as Angie did in the kitchen, she failed miserably in the garden. Her “black thumb” was the ruin of many a plant, and even rumored to have killed off a plastic one. The same could be said for her sewing abilities. What normally could be done with needle and thread, Angie accomplished with a stapler, some glue and dogged determination.
Angie was one of a kind who lived a one-of-a-kind life. She was often heard to say,”You gotta do what you gotta do when you gotta do it and forget the rest.” She did it her way, one day at a time, filling each precious hour with love, laughter and memories. She will forever be missed but never forgotten.
She is survived by her 14 children, Bill (Pat) Brummel, Allan Brummel, Karen (Stan) Sikorski, Rick Brummel, Dave (Debbie) Brummel, Sharon (Don) Hart, Ken (Marsha) Brummel, Steve Brummel, Jim Lexa, Mary Whitney, Tom (Myla) Lexa, Julie Brummel, Dennis (Barb Parrish) Lexa and Michelle (Pat) White; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; three siblings, Marion Umbdenstock, Clara Schmitt and Joseph (Mary Ann) Schramer; several nieces and nephews, and a countryside of friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents; her husbands, William Brummel and Dennis Lexa; son, John Lexa; son-in-law, Tom Whitney; four brothers, Nicholas, Fritz (Sue), Matt (Loretta) and Leonard (Mary) Schramer; two sisters, Barbara (Patrick) Hahn and Catherine “Katie” Schramer; and two brothers-in-law, Chuck Schmitt and Maurice Umbdenstock.
Visitation was held on Monday at Conley Funeral Home in Elburn. A mass to celebrate her faith was held Tuesday at S.S. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Virgil. Fr. Perfecto Vasquez, pastor of the church, officiated; interment followed at S.S. Peter & Paul Catholic Cemetery, Virgil.
A memorial has been established in her name to benefit Angie’s favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Angela Lexa Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com, where you can also find her full-life story.