Obituaries

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Dorothy Stewart, 74, teacher, business owner, librarian, volunteer

Dorothy Elizabeth Stewart, 74, a long-time resident of Oak Park, died on Dec. 10, 2005, in Bloomington, Ind., surrounded by her family. Dorothy moved to Bloomington several years ago to be closer to her children and grandchildren.

She was born in Fort Wayne, Ind. A graduate of Indiana University, she earned a B.S. degree in elementary education and was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Glen Stewart, whom she met while playing bridge at IU.

Dorothy and Glen lived in Oak Park all of their married lives and were both very involved in community activities. They were members of the First United Church where their daughters were married. Dorothy was a teacher, photographer, business owner, Realtor, and librarian. She was active in the League of Women Voters, the Infant Welfare League, the Oak Park Housing Center, Phi Sigma, Oak Park Musical Theatre, and the Emerson Elementary PTO. An avid Democrat, she had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to entertain, shop, eat out, and cheer for the IU basketball team. She was especially known for her annual Fourth of July parties. She loved to play the piano and sing. While in Bloomington, she stayed active by attending numerous shows at the IU auditorium.

Her daughter, Julie Head, said, "My mom always said living in Oak Park was 'heaven on earth.'"

Dorothy Stewart is survived by three children and eight grandchildren: David Stewart, wife Linda and their two children; Cindy Simon, husband Bill Jr., and their three children; and Julie Head, husband Bill and their three children.

Dorothy donated her body to the Indiana University Department of Anatomy. The family will hold a celebration of her life in Bloomington in the spring. Memorials may be made to Oak Park Memorial Tree program, c/o the Park District of Oak Park.

 

Ruth Cox, 91, lifelong Oak Parker, Cornerstone Methodist member

Ruth Thompson Cox, 91, of Oak Park, died at the Woodbine Nursing Home on Dec. 26, 2005. Born on Dec. 28, 1913, she lived her entire life in the village, attending Beye Elementary and graduating from Oak Park and River Forest High School. She earned a B.A. degree in 1936 from Northwestern University, where she was active in the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. She was the first child baptized at Cornerstone United Methodist Church, where she remained a lifelong member. She served as treasurer of the Women's Society of Christian Service and was a member of the Salvation Army Auxiliary.

Her favorite times were with family, especially when grandchildren visited the family summer home in Michigan for beach time and home-cooked meals.

Ruth Cox is survived by her daughter, Sandra (John) Langknecht; her grandchildren, Cassandra Giroux, Lorraine (Todd) Showalter, John (Kathleen) Henrikson, Johanna (Steve) Garrow, and Daniel Henrikson; and her five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, William Judson Cox, and her daughter, Nancy Henrikson Gable.

Visitation was held Dec. 29 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, followed by interment at Mt. Emblem Cemetery in Elmhurst.

Memorials to Cornerstone United Methodist Church, 171 N. Cuyler Ave., Oak Park 60302 or The Salvation Army, 506 N. Des Plaines, Chicago 60610 are appreciated.

 

Jack Levering, 85, social worker, writer, squirrel feeder

ohnson "Jack" Levering, 85, formerly of Oak Park, died Dec. 17, 2005 of pneumonia at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. Born in 1920 in Towson, Md., he served in World War II with a combat engineer batallion that came ashore at Normandy. After the war, he studied at Columbia University in New York and the Northwestern University School of Journalism, taking advantage of the G.I. Bill. But his 35-year career was devoted to social work.

After he retired, he became one of the first residents of the Holley Court Terrace retirement community in Oak Park, where he became a familiar sight feeding the squirrels and birds in Austin Gardens and striking up conversations with passersby. He also published a collection of poetry, essays, stories and letters to the editor titled Into the Wind, where he described himself as "a gregarious, very active senior citizen," who "reads three newspapers daily, subscribes to 40 magazines, and is a member of three senior organizations." He helped new immigrants learn English at a nearby college, led a weekly hiking group, attended yoga classes, raised Australian Bourke parakeets, was an avid needlepointer, loved gardening and taking care of indoor plants, enjoyed classical music, played bridge and loved animals.

He wrote that he "never owned a credit card, attended a rock concert, or a ball game ... has never been inside a McDonald's, never owned a gun, or shot an animal ... does not smoke or use any form of drugs, including alcohol ... [and] dislikes apple pie."

In 2003, he moved to The Hallmark senior living facility at 2960 N. Lake Shore Drive, where, according to Lin Miller, director of resident services, he had a close group of friends with whom he discussed matters philosophical and humorous. "They were religious without being religious," said Miller, "mostly women." He was good at "giving the big shoulder" to people who needed consolation. And he continued to feed the squirrels and birds every day in the park across the street.

Miller said that after he died, she and his friends held an informal memorial service in the park by his favorite tree, where they fed the squirrels and told "hilarious" stories about their friend. The group plans to continue feeding the squirrels in his memory.

Levering was cremated and no formal services were held, according to his wishes. "He was loved by everyone, except the few people he couldn't stand," Miller said. "I'm going to miss him terribly."

Memorial donations may be sent to the Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association, 947 Garfield St., Oak Park 60304-1848.

 

Ellen Kilbridge, 55

Animal lover

Ellen T. Kilbridge, 55, of Aurora, formerly of Oak Park, died of a sudden heart attack on Dec. 6, 2005. Ms. Kilbridge was educated at St. Edmund Grade School, IHM High School, and Manhattanville College in New York, where she earned a degree in fine arts. An accomplished woodcut artist, she worked as a sales rep for a company specializing in animal products. She loved dogs and cats and was a longtime member of the Whippet Club.

She never married, but every Christmas (including this one), she gave her nieces and nephews ornaments so they would have their own collection when they became adults.

Ellen Kilbridge was the daughter of Mary (nee O'Connor) and the late William Kilbridge; the sister of Patrick, Daniel (Anna), Peggy (Steve) Brothman, Michael (Jennifer), Lili (John) McGovern, Robert (Amy), and Vincent (Gina Borromeo) Kilbridge; and the aunt of 14.

Visitation and funeral service were held Dec. 10 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home in Oak Park, followed by interment at Aarwood Cemetery in Vernon Hills where owners and their pets are buried together.

?#34;Compiled by Ken Trainor

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