Among the many who made us who we are


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By Ken Trainor

Staff writer

In the past 12 months, we said goodbye to many who contributed to the tapestry that is Oak Park and River Forest. Here is a small sample of those we miss:

Wendell Rayburn Sr., 87, president of two colleges and vice president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (1996-2006).

Rose Joseph, 73, co-founder of Magic Tree Bookstore in Oak Park, grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Ward Fisher, 91, World War II veteran, attorney, District 97 school board member, helped negotiate the merger that created First United Church of Oak Park in the 1970s.

Joan Sorber, 91, co-founded the Austin Community Table soup kitchen, nurse who reduced surgical errors by writing "wrong knee," etc. on the "other" body part.

Mel Wilson, 74, architect, founding member of Oak Park Area Gay and Lesbian Association.

William "Bill" Martin, 80, author, attorney who prosecuted mass murderer Richard Speck.

Rev. Robert Cross, 90, pastor emeritus of Ascension Parish in Oak Park.

Robert Canapary, 90, founding member of Alcuin Montessori School in Oak Park.

Birda King, 79, gifted storyteller, provided child care to many in Oak Park.

Phillippe Verpil Sr., 70, bell captain at the Holiday Inn, Chicago Mart Plaza, for 40 years.

Donald Schmalz, 80, taught music in D97, Symphony of OP-RF concertmaster for 53 years.

Tom Broderick, 65, printer, democratic socialist, passionate social justice advocate.

Albert "Sunny" George, 75, River Forest village prosecutor, avid River Forest volunteer.

James McClure, 97, attorney, scoutmaster, village president of Oak Park, 1973-81.

Barbara Furlong, a former Oak Park trustee and village president from 1997 to 2001, died on Oct. 2. Furlong, who also served as village trustee from 1989 to 1993, and was an active volunteer long beyond her time in office, was 85. 


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