Text Box:  
Lottie Kalicki, who died last 
week at the age of 93, loved 
her Western movies.
Article published Sep 19, 2007

Happy trails to Lottie after a long life
Tribune Columnist

Lottie Kalicki of South Bend loved Roy Rogers ... and Gene Autry ... and Hopalong Cassidy.

But her first and foremost beau always was her husband, Joe.  No cowboy was he, but Joe had lassoed her with love like nobody else ever could.

They had been married for 64 years when Joe died on Sept. 12, 1998.

And when it was time for Lottie to go, it was on that very same date nine years later.  She was 93 -- and up until recent years, she was as spunky as Annie Oakley ever was.

"After she got a certain age, Granny would spend a good portion of her day watching old Westerns," says Dan Badur, one of Lottie's grandchildren. "We got the cowboy channel for her and I would tape the movies so she could watch them whenever she wanted."

It was in her blood.

Lottie had grown up watching cowboy movies at the old White Eagle movie theater on -- ironically enough -- Western Avenue.

Her own library of old Westerns featured such big-screen heroes as John Wayne, Gary Cooper and Randolph Scott. 
Great movies -- with the bad guys usually in black and the good guys kissing either their horse or the girl at the end.

I should know.

Because I am a friend of the family and Lottie knew I also loved Westerns, she gave me a big box of her old movies a few years ago.

"The Carson City Kid" ... "Boots and Saddles" ... "Angel and the Badman" ... and on and on.

"I've seen those enough," Lottie said at the time. "I want you to have them now."   I love them.

And so in honor of Lottie -- who was buried next to her Joe on Monday -- I watched one of those movies a few nights ago.

It was "Hombre," starring Paul Newman, and a relatively new movie compared with most of them in the box. You would know that because the good guy actually was killed at the end instead of living on to sing another song like Roy and Gene always did.

After Joe had died, Lottie moved in with her daughter and son-in-law, Barb and Jerry Badur.

The morning newspaper ... her organ ... and her old movies continued to be her passions.  A member of St. John the Baptist parish, she had always loved to sew and read and visit with her family -- that included her two children, Barb and Kenny, five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.

With Alzheimer's starting to take its toll, Lottie entered the hospital two weeks ago with pneumonia and then had a mild heart attack as well.

Her time was near.

Two of her great-granddaughters -- 18-year-old Kasie and 21-year-old Kara Badur -- had actually gone to the cemetery last Wednesday morning and prayed to their great-grandfather that it was time to take her home.

That was about the same time that the family got word that Lottie had passed away.  She was buried with a little embroidered pillow that read, "Happy Trails to You," Roy Rogers and Dale Evans' signature song.

"When my parents were both living, Mom would play 'Have I Told You Lately That I Love You' on the organ and Dad would sing it to her," Barb Badur says. "So at the funeral home, we had a recording of Gene Autry singing that very same song."

That music brought a few tears to people's eyes.

It also seemed an appropriate way for Lottie Kalicki, who hadn't been on a horse in 75 years, to ride into the sunset.

Happy trails to you, Lottie, indeed.



If you'd like to read Lottie's Obituary, Click Here