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In loving memory of
Audrey Flavin
  • January 21, 1939
  • -
  • July 31, 2022

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Audrey Rakowski Flavin passed away on July 31, 2022 in Fort Myers, FL of cancer at the age of 83.

Audrey was born on January 21, 1939 and raised on Chicago’s South Side.  She graduated from Immaculate Conception grade school and Mercy High School. After graduation, she worked for a media company in New York for 3 years before heading back to Chicago and taking a job at British Airways.

Audrey was smart, organized and relentless. She started in an administrative role but worked her way into sales where she eventually managed BA’s relationships with Chicago’s top travel agencies as well as several important corporate accounts. It was also at British Airways that she met her future husband, John. They were married for more than 30 years, and were together for many more. Working for the airlines allowed them to travel the world. One of her favorite trips was to South Africa where she rode the famous Blue Train. While she loved her career, Audrey was truly a devoted wife. When John had a stroke and nearly died early in their marriage, she made sure he was following the doctor’s orders and is the reason he lived another 20 years.

Family was always a priority for Audrey and she always made a point to send cards, gifts and if possible be there to celebrate her nieces and nephews’ important events. When her aunts died, Audrey took on the role of matriarch (or Big Kahuna as her brothers called her) of the Rakowski family and made sure the family carried on their Polish traditions. The most important was Christmas Eve where the family all got together for a meatless dinner of pierogi, fried shrimp/fish and a broad assortment of sides including the famous Salmon Soufflé. Or at least it was meatless, until someone took pity on her Irish husband and made him a pork chop. When John’s sons began to have kids, knowing how important that was to him, she took on the role of step-grandmother and never forgot a birthday or important event in the kids lives, often making sure she and John were there in person to celebrate anything from a first football game to a graduation. If family was Audrey’s #1 priority, friends were a close second. She maintained friendships from every part of her life and just as she did with her family, she always remembered birthdays and other important life events of her friends and their children.

After retiring from British Airways, Audrey and John continued to travel extensively but when she was at home, she volunteered for several organizations including St Joseph’s Hospital and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.  In 2004, they decided to become snowbirds and purchased a condo in the Shadow Wood Preserve community in Fort Myers to escape the brutal Chicago winters. It was in Florida that Audrey discovered her love of Mah Jongg. She not only played, but she taught the game to dozens of friends and acquaintances both in Florida and Chicago. She was integral in starting a weekly Mah Jongg group in Shadow Wood and then a much smaller group in Chicago. Both would continue to play even when she was in the other location and were another way of connecting people who may not otherwise have become friends.

Audrey is survived by her brother Stanley (Marlene) Rakowski; sisters-in-law Anita and Mary (Michael) Rakowski; and nieces & nephews Trina (Jason) Henney, Brian (Stace) Rakowski, Heather (Keith) Lifonti, Jack (Joann) Nagel, Bob (Kathy) Nagel, Joe (Tomo) Nagel and Tiffany (Simon) Jackson. She is also survived by her step-sons John Flavin, Dan Flavin (Jan Vanell), Sean (Debbie) Flavin and Patrick (Lynn) Flavin; her grandchildren Patrick (Amanda) Flavin, Jillian (Kyle) Wright, Samantha Flavin and Courtney Flavin Burks, Andrew Flavin, Audrey Flavin and Dani Flavin; and her great-grandchildren Cailyn Burks, Landan Burks, Charlotte (aka Charlie) Burks, Liam Flavin and Glendon Wright. Additionally, she is survived by many cousins, great nieces and nephews and other relatives as well as so many close friends who were like family to her.

Services for Audrey will be held in Chicago on September 24th at 10am at St Clements Church, 642 W Deming Place. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.


Instead of flowers, the family would prefer if you would make a donation to
Make-a-Wish Foundation

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  1. Jo Ann Bowman says:
    29 Sep 2022
    I am so sorry to learn about Audrey's passing. She was a wonderful person. She was a great friend to my Aunt Ruth Warren and to my family. I spent a lot of time with Audrey
    and my Aunt when I lived in
    Chicago. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.
    Jo Ann Bowman

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