Marie Wackrow, 86, advocate for victims of mental illness

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Marie T. Wackrow (nee Woods), 86, a lifelong resident of Oak Park, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm on March 30, 2012 while on a trip touring New Orleans. Born on Aug. 29, 1925 in Chicago to the late Dennis and Mary (nee Devitt) Woods, she was a graduate of St. Catherine of Siena Grade School, Oak Park and River Forest High School and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from DePaul University in Chicago. She also attended Illinois Teachers College where she earned her teacher certification. She taught in the Chicago Public School system for several decades.

After her son, Jerry, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, she became active with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and helped open the NAMI – Metro Suburban drop-off center in Oak Park. She remained a forceful advocate for the mentally ill and their families long after her son died.

An avid bridge player, she was also involved in an investment club, family support groups, bible study groups and the Serra Club. She was an active member of Ascension Parish, and in retirement she loved to travel both in the U.S. and Europe.

Marie Wackrow was the wife of the late Edward J. Wackrow; the mother of Thomas (Christine), Joan (Robert) Pacione, Edward of Oak Park, James (Caroline), Francis (Heidi), Mary (David) Hadden, and the late Gerald; the grandmother Kara and Diana Wackrow, Karen (Scott) Applehoff and Kathleen (Vito) Sammauro, David Wackrow, Analise and Carli Wackrow, Trevor, Dustin, Claire and Dylan Hadden; the great-grandmother of Brittany and Brandon Applehoff and Hailey Sammauro; and the sister of the late Marguerite, Rita, John, Cornelius, James, and Francis.

Visitation will be held on Monday, April 9 from 3 to 9 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on April 10 at Ascension Church, followed by interment at Mt. Carmel Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to NAMI Metro-Suburban (, 816 Harrison, Oak Park, IL 60304 are appreciated.

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mattcordtwist NAMI  

Posted: July 25th, 2012 8:18 AM

was honored to have you some

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