Eleanor Rapp, 91, former OPRF 'lunch lady,' senior citizen advocate

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Eleanor Rapp, 91, of Chicago, a former longtime resident of Oak Park, died on Aug. 6, 2012 at Midwest Hospice Care Center in Skokie. Born on June 16, 1921 to Frank and Teresa Augustine in Chicago, Eleanor and her husband, Norman, were active in the Cursillo movement, a series of Catholic retreats for married couples. After Norman, who worked at Catholic Charities, died at age 56, Eleanor went to work at Oak Park and River Forest High School, first as a lunch lady, then as a classroom cleaner to support the two younger children still at home.

It was after she retired that she found her most rewarding work. As an active member of the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, she taught catechism to mentally ill adults in the Faith and Fellowship Program at St. Catherine/St. Lucy Parish in Oak Park and was president of the tenants organization at Senate Apartments in Chicago.

As an 80-year-old, her picture would often be in the newspaper, showing her leaning on her walker at a demonstration involving senior citizens issues or health care reform. When she got too weak to do much walking, she worked as the "Sunshine Lady" at Senate Apartments, traveling to tenants' apartments on her power chair to put get-well cards under the door.

Eleanor Rapp is survived by her children, Noreen (Rosemary Schachte), Nancy (Charles) Witt, Mary Ann (Brian) Walsh, Diane (Erich) Walch, Michael (JoAnne), and Daniel (Jo); 12 grandchildren; and 9 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Norman.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, Aug. 8 from 3-9 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park. Prayers will be said on Thursday, Aug. 9 at 9:15 a.m. at the funeral home, then a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. at Ascension Church in Oak Park, followed by interment at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to St. Jude Children's Hospital are appreciated.

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