Cover photo for Vonda Polega's Obituary
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1930 Vonda 2023

Vonda Polega

May 2, 1930 — June 9, 2023


Vonda Marie Polega, age 93 of Niles, Michigan; mother, grandmother, great grandmother, great great grandmother, sister; devout Catholic, church choir member, and long-time Notre Dame library assistant died peacefully at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, June 9, 2023, at her home following a brief illness.

She was born on May 2, 1930, in South Bend, Indiana to Arthur C. and Opal (Wedel) Dodds, and graduated from South Bend Adams High School.  She continued her education at Southwestern Michigan College. She retired from the University of Notre Dame, where she assisted the librarians in the Hesburgh Library, the Kellogg Institute of International Studies, and the Architecture Library.

Vonda was a member of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Niles and a long-time member of the church choir with whom she traveled to Rome and visited the Vatican.

On June 23, 1952, in St. Joseph Michigan she married Ralph Clarence Polega with whom she celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of their wedding, prior to his death on May 23, 1983.

She was also preceded in death by her parents, Arthur and Opal Dodds, her step-mother, Alma Dodds, sadly by one grandchild, Kris Ann Mather and one great-grandchild, Landon Michael Polega and by her brother, Richard Dodds.

Surviving family includes her children, Allan (& Julie) Polega of Reno, Nevada, Karen Paustian of Eau Claire, Michigan, Carol Ann Mather of Niles, Mary Lilley of Niles, Stephen (& Tina) Polega or Park Forest, Illinois, Jayne (& Kevin) Schlutt of Niles, and David (& Aimee) Polega of Calabash, North Carolina, fourteen grandchildren, twenty-four great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren, and by Vonda’s sister, Marilyn Sheppard of Long Beach, California and several nieces and nephews.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Vonda Polega will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 16, 2023, at Saint Mary’s Church 203 South Lincoln Avenue in Niles by the Rev. Christian Johnston, assisted by Deacon Roger Gregorski both of Saint Mary’s Parish. The ceremony will be available online on the Halbritter Wickens Facebook page at

Contributions in memory of Vonda may be made to Saint Mary’s parish, 219 South State Street, Niles, Michigan 49120,  Arrangements were completed at the Halbritter Wickens Funeral Home, 615 E. Main St. Niles.

Online condolences may be left at

Vonda lived a quiet life which must have been appropriate for her years helping folks in the libraries; less quiet as a faithful member of the parish choir, and surely a bit less quiet while raising seven children; but all of her life caring for the people around her, fulfilling the commandment to love God and love people.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Vonda Polega, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, June 16, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Saint Mary Catholic Church

209 S Lincoln Ave, Niles, MI 49120

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