Obituaries

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Cathaleen Byrne Rich, 77, educator, artist,
founder of Limina

Cathaleen Byrne Rich, 77, artist, education activist, psychotherapist, and mother of six, died on Sept. 25, 2007 at the Oak Park home where she raised her own children and served as surrogate mother to many others. Born to Prairie School architect Francis Barry Byrne and artist Annette Cremin Byrne in Chicago, she grew up in New York City before her family returned to Chicago after World War II. She attended Immaculata High School, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the College of the University of Chicago. Through summer sessions, she earned an advanced degree in education from Newton College, Newtown, Mass.

In 1954 she married William B. Rich, whose psychiatry residency at Yale University took the couple to Connecticut until 1965 when they returned to the Chicago area and purchased their home on Wesley Avenue in Oak Park. Dr. Rich assumed the position of associate dean of the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University.

While still a high school student, Cathaleen participated in the Young Christian Students (YCS) and in 1948 attended an international meeting of the movement at Rosary College (now Dominican University). During her college years, she served YCS at the Chicago headquarters, and it was through YCS that she met her husband. She continued her commitment to effective, alternative education during her life in Oak Park, both as a candidate for the school board of District 97 and as a co-founder and supporter of the Council for Open Education in Oak Park, the elementary-level Free School at then-First Presbyterian Church on Lake Street and the alternative program at Oak Park and River Forest High School known as "XP."

Longtime Oak Park leader Galen Gockel credited Rich with bringing his family to the village from Chicago's South Side in 1969 after reading about her candidacy for the elementary school board election. "If Ms. Rich had not decided to run for the school board, if that issue of the newspaper had not covered the upcoming election, if we had not picked up that issue, it is possible we would have selected another destination to move to," Said Gockel at Mrs. Rich's wake.

Cathal's artistic talent was expressed both in colorful figurative canvases and in graphic design. After founding the women's organization Limina in 1985 with friends Lillian Lewis and Tesse Donnelley, she used her art in the service of exploring and celebrating women's lives. She created large-scale paintings, notably "Healing Woman," as centerpieces for Limina events and she designed newsletters and greeting cards expressing her vision of woman-spirit.

Her paintings also served as the backdrop for therapy sessions that Cathaleen conducted for private clients in her Oak Park home, where she welcomed young and old without prejudice. Friends and family recall her as remarkably non-judgmental of people. She respected other's opinions and expressions and welcomed the joy of conversation and debate. Her home was a center of activity for family birthdays and holidays, and her family extended throughout the village and beyond. She reveled in annual family vacations to Mexico and doted on her grandchildren.

After divorcing William Rich, Cathal later married George Sikes. Both preceded her in death. She also suffered the loss of her second son, William B. Rich II, in 2001, and her youngest daughter, Deirdre Rich, earlier this year. She is survived by her sister, Ann Byrne; her brother, Barry Byrne; her children, Christopher, Barry, Cathaleen and Felicity; and her grandchildren, LaRaie Zimm, Ann Rich, Monica Gockel, Simone Rich, Felicity Rich-Michael, Alexandra Rich-Michael, Christopher Rich, and Madeline Rich.

Funeral services were held at St. Edmund Church on Sept. 29.
-Submitted by Vince Michael

Jamie Hunt Rouse, 27, Francesca's Fiore manager

Jamie Marie Hunt Rouse, 27 of Forest Park, formerly of Oak Park died suddenly on Nov. 1, 2007. Born on March 14, 1980 in Woodstock, she graduated from Julian Middle School, Oak Park and River Forest High School (1998) and Concordia University (2003). She was the former manager at KinderCare Nursery School and was currently employed as the manager of Francesca's Fiore in Forest Park.

Jamie Rouse is survived by her parents, Janet (Steve) Rouse and Mark Hunt; and her brothers and sisters, Jonathan and Jenna Rouse and Corey, Colt, Olivia and Ivy Hunt. She was the granddaughter of Richard and Donna Walters, Leah and the late Melvin Hunt, and Philip and Dorothy Rouse; the great-granddaughter of Lucille Walters; and the niece and aunt of many.

Visitation took place Nov. 4 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home. A funeral service was held Nov. 5 at First Presbyterian Church of River Forest. Private interment was held at McHenry County Memorial Park Cemetery in Woodstock.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Jamie Rouse Memorial Fund, c/o Park National Bank, Attn: Louise Hildebrand, 801 N. Clark, Chicago 60610, to continue her love and care of children are appreciated.

Ralph Nunley, 69, Longtime Oak Park resident

Ralph D. Nunley, 69, a 43-year resident of Oak Park, died on Oct. 30, 2007 at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago.

He is survived by June, his wife of 51 years; his son, Rod; and his three grandchildren, Bailey, Taylor and Rodenick. He was preceded in death by his son, Randy.

Visitation and funeral services were held Nov. 1, 2007 at Woodlawn Funeral Home in Forest Park.

Herman Finzel, 95, Engineer, founded Marathon Concrete

Herman Finzel, 95, a 57-year resident of Oak Park, died on Oct. 18, 2007. Born in Germany, he received his engineering degree before moving to the United States in 1939. He became chief engineer for Weil Pump Company, developing the submersible pump, and later founded his own company, Marathon Concrete Products. A member of Medinah Country Club for more than 40 years, he continued to play golf into his 90s.

Mr. Finzel was the husband of the late Johanna (Jo), nee Zenk; the father of Barbara (Robert) Graham of River Forest; the grandfather of Suzanne (Steven) McFarlin of Oak Park, Michael (Jane), and Laura Graham; the brother of the late Leni Schiller; uncle of Jinger (Robert) O'Malley, Jack Fleck, Jami (Derek) Wilk, Peter (Elfie) Schiller, and Thomas (Ellen) Thompson.

Interment was private, but a celebration of his life will be held on Jan. 12, 2008 at 1 p.m. at the Oak Park Country Club, 2001 N. Thatcher, River Grove.

In lieu of flowers, Memorials to the Oak Park Council on International Affairs, 815 Highland, Oak Park 60304, would be appreciated.

-KenTrainor

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