Member Spotlight

Luana Paluka

CDA Christmas Party 2015

CDA Christmas Party 2015

June 29, 1923 – October 23, 2018 RIP

Member since October 11, 1953              By Carol Hollenbeck, Web Manager

At age 93, currently the longest serving member of St. Anthony Court #330, we see a woman steeped in service, history and faith. Luana Angeline was born at Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs, Iowa on June 29, 1923, the first child of Frank and Salina Paluka.  Her mother was a nurse at that hospital for many years. Her father is in the Hall of Fame at Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs, IA, where he taught American History from 1924-1959. The family grew to include a sister Rosemaurine (Rose, age 92) and two brothers Frank (age 89) and John Robert (age 84). None of the four siblings ever married or had children. The only sibling of Luana’s who drove a car is John, the youngest brother. They did a lot of walking to faithfully attend St. Peter’s Church and remain devoted Catholic Christians their entire lives.

According to Luana, the Paluka clan moved from Hazel Street to Lindburg Drive, to Greenwood Street, finally settling at 360 Lincoln Street in the 1940’s, where Luana currently resides and where she shared her memories with this reporter.  Also present was her longtime caretaker and friend, CDA Court #330 member Mariann Hilderbrand. Mariann is only one of a dedicated army of friends, neighbors and Catholic Daughters who have given their time and love to this lady for many years. Court member Joan Goeser has regularly driven Luana to Mass at St. Peter’s. Two other CDA sisters who have given their time and talent are Kris Jarecki and Linda Spencer. Neighbors, church members and others have kept Luana at home for most of the time since she had a stroke in 2010.  As I was leaving the interview a neighbor named Connie appeared to take the next shift of caring for Luana, as she has for a long time. These women truly are the hands and heart of Jesus in our world.

Luana is very proud of her sister Rose, though a year apart in age, they both graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1942.  Rose lives in Denver, CO and is retired from teaching American History at Lakewood Jr. High there. She followed her father’s example and became a teacher of history.  Luana recently was taken to see her brother Frank in Iowa City, IA.  They hadn’t seen each other for many years and they shared a meal at the hospital three blocks from his home where Frank eats, because it is possible to have healthy and low cost meals. They had a wonderful visit and were so glad to be together. Frank is retired from life as instructor of English and Communication Skills at the University of Iowa who later found his calling in Library Science there. The youngest brother, John, lives in La Crescenta, California. A graduate of Iowa State University he worked for NASA for many years in the space program.

Luana worked for the McGinn & McGinn Law Firm from 1954-1985 as a legal secretary. She remained in the family home where she also cared for both her father (1888-1965) and her mother (1894-1972) until their deaths. The obligation of parental care fell to her and she carried out that responsibility with love.  She has attended St. Peter’s Catholic Church from her Baptism and has attended meetings of our Catholic Daughter’s Court #330 from 1953 to the present.  She has also been a member of the St. Peter’s Altar Society and was an active member of the Legal Secretaries of Council Bluffs organization.

Luana has always been a lover of dogs, especially puppies! She has had three special dogs in her life, two were named Brandy and Maggie. She is always interested in talking to people about their jobs, their histories, their families, their hopes and dreams. She finds the humor in life wherever she can and her unshakeable faith in God is obvious.

When I visited Luana in her home she was surrounded by family pictures, awards, certificates, trophies and memories of all their accomplishments. A respect for family, education, history and faith is on display.  I was a bit surprised to see a quite large, framed portrait of President John F. Kennedy, from the 1960’s, hanging in her living room.  I said to her, “I see this wonderful picture of President Kennedy on your wall. Were you a big supporter of Kennedy?” Luana loudly proclaimed, “Oh YES, of course I was. I wouldn’t have his picture up there if I wasn’t!” (Ask a silly question you always get a straight answer from Luana, who remains ever loyal to her values and her beliefs.) All of us can learn a lesson in loyalty from the life of Luana Paluka.

“Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.” John 14:21