Cassins span the post WWII era almost to the day

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Virginia and Bill Cassin are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on Aug. 11. They plan to mark the occasion with her brother and his wife at the family's summer home in Wisconsin, and look forward to remembering the special day again when their eight children gather for the Christmas holidays.

The couple met in 1940 when they were high school sophomores, she at Oak Park and River Forest High School, and he at Fenwick. They married at Ascension Church in 1945 just days after he arrived back in Oak Park from serving with the Army in Europe. Virginia wore her grandmother's dress and carried her grandmother's feather fan, arranged with the wedding bouquet. Longtime Oak Parkers and parents of the couple, Ted and Maude Robie and Bill and Ruth Cassin shared in the long-awaited day.

The Cassins have been active participants in village activities for their entire married life. They've lived in their home at 206 S. Grove Ave. for the past 50 years. They thank their many friends and family members for contributing special memories to their long and happy marriage.

Highlights of a high school

Fenwick High School is publishing a 200-page book on its 75-year history. Edited by Cheryl Harbour, who also edits the Fenwick bi-annual magazine, the book contains photos from the 7½ decades of the school's athletic, academic and other milestones. More than 100 alums of the schoolâ€"from the first graduating class in 1932 through its most recent graduatesâ€"relate their memories and experiences in interviews conducted by honors English students from the class of 2005. A limited number of books may still be available; call 386-0127 ext. 190 or see

Loyola life preserver

Cardiac electrophysiologist Dr. Niraj Varma of Oak Park has joined Loyola University Health System as an associate professor of medicine, division of cardiology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood. He specializes in treatment of arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and holds certifications in internal medicine, cardiology and clinical cardiac electrophysiology from the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Varma comes to Loyola from Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland. He earned his B.A. from Oxford University and his bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery from Edinburgh University, received residency training in England, and completed a research fellowship in cardiology at Boston University, Beth Israel Hospital, and a clinical fellowship in cardiac electrophysiology at Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Pet therapy

Oak Park resident Melissa Joy Buoscio and animal teammate Roscoe, a Huskie mix, completed training as a person-animal volunteer team qualified to provide animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted therapy to patients and residents of hospitals and nursing homes. They are registered through Pet Partners Program, a nationwide volunteer organization. "I adopted Roscoe from the Oak Park Animal Care League three years ago and he has brought me so much joy," said Buoscio. "He makes me laugh all the time and I want to share that with others." Roscoe trains with Jamie D'Amato and Kelly Elvin at the Canine Learning Center in Oak Park.

The St. Giles trio

Three teachers have joined the faculty at St. Giles School for the 2005-06 school year. Oak Park resident Flavia Morrissey returns to St. Giles after a one-year hiatus to become the middle school librarian. She has extensive teaching experience, and earned a master's in library science from Rosary College (now Dominican University) in 1997. The new head preschool teacher is Bridget LaPietra. She previously taught at Holy Name High School and a number of elementary schools, and holds a BA in early childhood education from Mundelein College. Kristina Rivera will teach third grade. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she taught primary grades at a charter school in Michigan and at St. James school in Arlington Heights.

Sjostrom heads to China

Galen Sjostrom, a 2001 graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School, is spending the summer in China with the Duke University language study program. Formerly a jazz performance major at Roosevelt University's College of Performing Arts, Sjostrom is now attending Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. and plans to graduate with an Asian studies degree in 2006.

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