Ralphj Hannie, a longtime bartender at Spyner's Pub, died Thursday night, August 4, at her home with her longtime partner by her side after a battle with ovarian cancer. She was 51.
Hannie had been told earlier in the year that she had a year to live.
"She was a great, giving person … I'm still in shock right now," Chicagoan Sam Hamilton said Thursday. "She loved her family and did a lot for the community. A lot of people will miss her. She was just fun to be around."
Hannie was born on a reservation in Wisconsin to the Menominee Tribe on March 23, 1960. She lived there until the age of 4, and then moved to Chicago with her family. She is the oldest of six girls. Hannie and her partner of 18 years, Janice Kohl, lived in Lincoln Square.
"They are both pillars of the community, donating time and money for many local causes and personal causes for friends and family," Hamilton said earlier this year. "Ralphj is an inspiration to everyone and has a heart of gold. Everyone who has been surrounded by her presence has nothing but good things to say such as, light spirited, a loving and giving heart."
"She was a generous, wonderful woman who cared about everyone and was always there for everyone; she spent her life giving," Edith Nieves, of Chicago, said Thursday. "She knew that she was really loved, that people really cared about her."
Nieves and Hannie were billiards teammates at Spyner's.
"She was really a terrific lady who'd give you the shirt off her back, if needed," Nieves said.
The service is Sunday, August 7, at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home ( 6150 N. Cicero ) , from 3-9 p.m.
Spyners Pub owner Maureen Sullivan was friends with Hannie for about 25 years, and Hannie has worked there for about 20 years.
Ralphj. Photo courtesy Sam Hamilton