Grin and bear it

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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A feel-good, personal story came our way that we thought might interest your readers:

Catherine Wirtz is a current resident here at Holley Court Terrace. Catherine's late husband, John "Jack" Wirtz was the head of the music department at OPRF High School from 1971 to 1989.

The Wirtzes raised their family in Oak Park and all four of their children graduated from OPRF High School. Catherine was a secretary to the superintendent at OPRF for 12 years. Two of their children came back to live here and two granddaughters graduated from OPRF. Catherine has 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Barbara D'Asaro is another current resident and friend of Catherine's. Barbara's first husband was Catherine's husband's predecessor at OPRF before he passed away at an early age and the job was presented to Jack Wirtz, who carried the torch until 1989.

Before Jack died, Vitas Hospice was looking after him. As part of their program, Catherine was asked if she would like to provide their staff with some personal items, with which they could make a keepsake bear for her as a tribute. She supplied them with Jack's conductor suit (with tails) and conducting baton. They came back with a lovely hand-made, hand-stitched bear that even has a small rose on his lapel.

The bear is made of Jack's suit tails, his cummerbund and one of his dress shirts.

Catherine is very proud of her bear and has shared it with many of her friends and staff in our community.

"We were always having fun together," she said, "and even now, I still get to have fun with him!"

Laura Bezinovich

Holley Court Terrace, Oak Park

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