Jeanne 'Chickie Crowley' Riesenbeck: Friends remember 'Queen of Mount Adams'

'Chickie' Crowley dies in traffic mishap

CINCINNATI - Funeral services are pending for Jeanne Riesenbeck -- the woman known to most people as "Chickie" Crowley, the Queen of Mount Adams.

Riesenbeck, 85, died Thursday in a traffic accident on Eden Park Drive in Mount Adams.

The Cincinnati Police Traffic Section said Riesenbeck's son, David Riesenbeck, 47, was driving her to see grandchildren at a swimming pool when he had a medical problem.

The car failed to negotiate a curve near Seasongood Pavilion and went over an embankment. Chickie was killed and her son was injured. David Riesenbeck was last listed in serious condition at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Chickie was a life-long Mount Adams resident, matriarch of the Crowley family and the well-known cafe they own, and a member of Immaculata Church.

"It's a terrible loss for the community," said Marcia Spaeth Kennedy, who grew up in Mount Adams near the Riesenbeck family. "Chickie is truly a Mount Adams icon. She's one of a kind."

Some may wonder why everyone knew Jeanne Riesenbeck as Chickie. Kennedy said that unusual nicknames were the rule, not the exception in the Crowley family.

"There's 'Sugar,' 'Cookie,' 'Bebo,' 'Jibber', 'Tootsie' and 'Rudy,'" she said. "A lot of great names."

In addition to having a great name, Chickie was also a great person. She was the kind of person who would do anything for anybody, according to Kennedy.

"She was the go-to person. She knew what was going on. She knew who needed help. She would organize," Kennedy said. "She deeply loves her family and her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren and all of our children."

Mary Capannari knew Chickie from the time they were kindergarten students growing up in Mount Adams.
In fact, she was a bridesmaid in Capannari's 1949 wedding at Immaculata Church.

"She was very outgoing, very friendly," Capannari said. "If you were her friend, you were her friend for life.
She never met a stranger. She was always willing to help."

Immaculata Church historian Jim Steiner said Chickie brought a loving spirit and a belief in God to the church where the was baptized, had her first communion, was married and where her funeral will be held.

"She volunteered for all kinds of things. She went down to Tender Mercies with us to serve lunch and she just gave of herself," he said. "She was just a very loving and very fun person."

Steiner referred to Chickie as Mount Adams royalty.

"She certainly could be the Queen of Mount Adams," he said. "She didn't wear a crown and she probably wouldn't, but she's definitely the Queen of Mount Adams."  

Marilyn Ormsbee recalled how when she moved to Mount Adams 10 years ago, Chickie was one of the first people she met.

"She made you feel comfortable instantly. She truly did," Ormsbee said. "It's one of the blessings of being up in Mount Adams. It's one of the most, if not the most, wonderful neighborhoods in Cincinnati and it's because of people like Chick."

Ormsbee said she loved Chickie's sense of humor, as did another Mount Adams resident, M'ellen Horrigan.

"If she teased you, you had done something right. You had arrived," Horrigan said. "She teased everybody that she knew well and she inspired everybody to do something that made her tease them."

However, it was the the human side of Chickie that struck her the most.

"To understand Chickie you have to realize that in 1969 her husband, who was seriously wounded at Angio Beachhead, had to have both legs cut off due to a circulation problem. A year later her mother had a stroke and lost the use of both arms and legs," she said. "Chick nursed them both for six years each making it a seven year run.  No complaints.  Lots of cheer.  Never refused help, but never requested it. That's the essence of Chick."  


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