Dorothy Girard Banchak

RAPID RIVER – Dorothy Girard Banchak, 93, of Rapid River, Mich., died Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, at Bishop Noa Home in Escanaba, Mich.

She was born on May 9, 1919, at Mrs. Bloom’s Maternity House in Escanaba to Charles and Mabel (Armstrong) Girard. She graduated in 1937 from Escanaba High School where she was a cheerleader, thespian; singer, dancer, writer and bobsledder.

Dorothy moved to Chicago, Ill., in 1938 to attend nursing school and worked at Garfield Park Hospital. In 1940, she married Richard V. Hyland and began her family of five children. She sewed at F.W. Woolworths, modeled hosiery, topped candy bars at Mars Candy Co., soldered circuit boards at Zenith Radio and was a precinct captain in Cook County.

In 1957 she moved to Carpentersville, Ill., and became a single parent. She was secretary to the Democratic Party in Kane County, chairman of the March of Dimes, manager of the Mary Lester Fabric Store at the Meadowdale Shopping Center. On the weekends she played the organ at the Black Angus Restaurant in Algonquin, Ill. She worked in sales for Holub Food Company, was a state field supervisor with the Illinois Dept. of Public Instruction, and then became director of the school lunch program for School District 300 for several years.

In 1965 she married Otto Banchak in Algonquin, Ill. They enjoyed gardening, fishing and getaways to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

In 1971 she was hired off the unemployment line to work and train as a claims adjudicator for the Illinois Dept. of Labor in Elgin, Ill. She was soon promoted to manager of the Elgin office, and then was given additional offices in Woodstock and Waukegan. Dorothy conducted annual business seminars educating employers on how to cut their unemployment contribution costs. She retired in 1984.

After retirement, Dorothy opened “Glasso’leen Alley” making stained glass originals. She was recognized at the Invitational International Stained Glass Show in Chicago and completed several commissioned works for area businesses.

In 1991 she and Otto moved to Rapid River Mich., to fish and make new friends.

Dorothy always looked for a new venture. She began making hand painted porcelain dolls and in 1995 received two blue ribbons at the Upper Peninsula Area Doll Show. She loved fabric and sewing dresses for her granddaughter. Quilting became her passion and she made over 30 quilts for her family. As a voracious reader of biographies, history and politics, she excelled in debate over controversial issues. Dorothy was a member of Toastmasters International, Delta County Historical Society, the African Violet Society of America, she started a local chapter of the Red Hat Society, and she was a member of the Rapid River Quilt Guild. She was featured at Bay College and named Quilter of the Year in 2009. Her love of music, art, and history were cornerstones to building many long friendships that strengthened her spirit and kept her mind sharp.

Survivors include her children: Kristine (David) Beach of Harvard, Ill.; Kevin (Karen) Hyland of Penn Valley, Calif.; Carolyn Hyland of Mishawaka, Ind.; and Patricia Hyland of Berkeley, Calif.; her grandchildren, Todd Hyland (Rapid River, Mich.); Heather (Mike) Maisen (Seattle, Wash.); Piper Hyland (Berkeley, Calif.); Joseph L. (Staci) Rybacek (Woodstock, Ill.); Cynthia Beach (Harvard, Ill.); Ryan Hyland (Chico, Calif.); Jonathan Hyland (Reston, Va.); Nicholas Hyland (Santa Rosa, Calif.); two nephews: Larry (Kitty) Girard (South Haven, Mich.) and Ken (Bonnie) Girard of Tucson, Ariz..

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Otto Banchak (May 2011); her sons Richard C. Hyland (January 2004); infant son Dennis Hyland (1943); Timothy G. Hyland (June 2010); her brothers, Lawrence and Walter Girard.

Her family will receive friends Thursday, Jan. 3, from 11 a.m. to noon at Skradski Funeral Home, 706 Wisconsin Ave., Gladstone, Mich. The memorial service will begin at noon officiated by Rev. Fr. Emmett Norden. Memorial contributions may be made to Sandpoint Lighthouse c/o Delta County Historical Society, 16 Water Plant Road, Escanaba, MI 49829. Envelopes will be available at the Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County. Messages of condolence to Dorothy’s family may be directed online at