Kenneth E. Trainor, 82, instilled discipline, winning attitude
Longtime youth baseball coach in Oak Park, father of six

He was among the first wave of youth baseball managers in Oak Park, beginning in the late 1950s. And he didn’t give it up until the early 1990s when Parkinson’s Disease forced him out of the coaching box. In over three decades at the Bronco Division (10- to 12-year-olds), his Suburban Bank teams won either the south side or village championships more often than not.

Several of his former players became coaches themselves, including John Hanrahan, John “Reds” Rickard, his sons Mike and Matt, and Steve Hayward, now a hitting instructor and partner at Strikes, a baseball instructional facility in Broadview.

“He’s the reason I’m still in baseball,” Hayward said. “He was the first coach I had. He made me think about the game, and he made it fun. I learned to respect the game. He was a big influence.”

“He was a disciplinarian, but you were never afraid of him. And he was a winner. We knew that if you listened to Mr. Trainor and played the game the right way, more than likely you were going to win.”

Another of his players, Rick Morrissey, now a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune, said, “Mr. Trainor was a great guy who expected a lot out of us players. To this day, the first thing I think of when I think about him is his insistence that we say, ‘Yes, Sir’ or ‘No, Sir’ to him. This was the early 1970s when even kids were questioning authority. We knew better than to question his. He had a lot to teach us, and we had a lot to learn. We won a lot of games and had a lot of fun. He had a lot to do with both.”

Ken Trainor learned the game on the softball fields of Garfield and LaFollette parks on the city’s West Side. His childhood friend, Jack “Muddy” Kernan, recalls the many days and nights they played in 16-inch leagues.

One of the more imposing teams they played featured “the Bromley Boys,” intimidating older men who could hit the ball a mile. The Bromleys almost always won but during one memorable pickup game with no umpire, Kernan’s team jumped out to a lead and held on into the fifth inning, at which point the Bromleys contended it was only the fourth. Charges and countercharges flew until Trainor came in from left field (literally) and proceeded to recap from memory what every batter had done up to that point. The Bromleys just nodded and went back to playing.

“We won by a couple of runs,” Kernan recalled, “but we wouldn’t have if they’d had an extra inning. He was the hero of that game.”

Kernan said his mother always used to tell him the secret to getting along in life was finding good companions. “I really lucked out with Ken Trainor,” he said. “He was a terrific example who would never let you get into trouble.”

Born on Oct. 19, 1924 in Chicago, he graduated from St. Mel High School near the top of his class in 1943 and immediately went into the Army, assigned to a Tank Destroyer unit in Europe. After the war, he attended Loyola University on the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1949, the same year he married Marilyn Mooney. They had six boys and moved to Oak Park in 1952.

With his business degree, he became vice president and office manager of the family business, Pat Mooney Inc. cutting tools, in Bellwood.

In the 1960s, in addition to serving as the West Suburban coordinators of the Cana Conference of the Chicago Archdiocese, Mr. Trainor joined a team of volunteers who visited nervous or openly hostile white homeowners in Oak Park when black families started moving into the area.

An Ascension parishioner for 55 years, he served on the Home & School Association and was a longtime member of the Holy Name Society. A basketball and football official, who worked several state championship games, he served as assignment chairman for the Athletic Officials Association and recruited a number of new officials to the field. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was the official time-keeper at Chicago Bears home games.

In 2002 he was awarded the Jack Kaiser Award by Oak Park Youth Baseball/Softball for his 30-plus years as a manager and coach.

Ken Trainor was the husband for 58 years of Marilyn; the father of Michael, Thomas (Barbara), Kenneth, Matthew (Anita), Timothy, and William; grandfather of Dylan, Bridget, Thomas, Christopher, Katherine and Mary Therese; father-in-law of Sheila and Elke; brother of the late Raymond; and sister-in-law of Oneta Trainor and Patricia Thornton. Mr. Trainor battled Parkinson’s Disease for 24 years, and benefited greatly from the devoted care of Beatrice Little.

Visitation was held at Peterson’s Funeral Home in Chicago on July 8. Funeral Mass was celebrated on July 9 at Ascension Church, followed by interment at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside.

Memorials to the Ascension School Fund, 601 W. Van Buren St., Oak Park 60304 or the Parkinson’s Association, 2050 Pfingston Road, Glenview 60025 (also are appreciated.
-Ken Trainor

Patricia Dreyer, 77, pioneering electrical engineer
Patricia G. Dreyer, 77 of Clearwater, Fla. died June 30, 2007 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She was born August 11, 1929 in Chicago. She was one of three daughters born to Bertha Thoms and George Hooper.

She graduated from the University of Chicago, majoring in Electrical Engineering. Dreyer retired from Western Electric in 1979 as head engineer. At the time she was one of few women in the field.

After retiring, she moved to Florida and owned and operated a marina called “Pat’s Landing” in Palm Harbor. She operated the marina for more than 20 years before retiring to Clearwater, Fla. in 2003.

She was preceded in death by her first husband Eliseo Gonzalez and her second husband John Dreyer. She is survived by her daughter Lisandra Gonzalez Reynoso (Mark Hansen) of Oak Park and her grandchildren Aimee Reynoso and Tara (Michael) Deleon.

A visitation was held July 2 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home in Oak Park and a funeral mass was held July 3 at St. Luke Church in River Forest. Interment was at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Ill. Memorials can be made to the Salvation Army, Metropolitan Division, 5040 N. Pulaski, Chicago.

Jean Groen, 89, Active community member
Jean Gardner Groen, 89, died June 30, 2007. She suffered for many years from a variety of ailments. She was born in Leavenworth, Wash. and spent her early childhood in Spokane, Wash. The family then moved to Portland, Ore., where she attended The Catlin Gabel School.

She met her future husband, Fred H. Groen, as a teenager when he and a mutual friend traveled west for a summer, working in the lumber camps in the Pacific Northwest. After meeting, the couple split to attend college. Groen graduated from Scripps College.

During World War II, Jean worked for a small company with innovative accounting machines, International Business Machines Corporation, later named IBM. Meanwhile Fred was stationed in the Pacific with the Marines. The two reunited in the early 1950s and married in a quiet family ceremony in Portland in 1952. They settled in Oak Park and later moved to River Forest where Groen raised their family and Fred built his industrial cookware business.

Groen was active in many Chicago organizations, including the Oak Park-River Forest Infant Welfare Society, The Women’s Board of Rush-St. Luke’s Hospital, The Women’s Athletic Club of Chicago, The Women’s Board of the Chicago Botanical Gardens, and The Junior League. She and her husband were also members of the Oak Park Country Club, Medinah Country Club, The La Coquille Club in Manalapan, Florida and the Atlantis Golf Club in Lantana, Florida, where they also had a home.

Groen was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, and her only sister, Mary Clarke of Rockford.

She is survived by her four children, Fred Groen (Dee) of River Forest, Susan Maher of Greenwich, Conn., Ann McGrath (Richard) of Lincolnshire, and Dr. Charles Groen of Chicago; six grandchildren; two nephews, Fred and George Clarke, and a sister-in-law Marjorie Groen.

Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.

D. Roland Hubbard, 80, Loyal member of First United Methodist Church
D. Roland Hubbard, 80, a longtime Oak Park resident died on June 29, 2007 in Oak Park. Hubbard was born in Ironwood, Mich. on April 22, 1927 and attended St. John’s College in Winfield, Kan. He later attended the American Institute of Banking. Hubbard served in the Unites States Army, and was employed by First National Bank of Chicago (now Chase) for 38 years. He moved to Oak Park in 1948 and was a resident for 59 years.

He was a loyal member of First United Methodist Church of Oak Park for 46 years, and a long standing member of Men’s Community Bible Study at First Presbyterian Church of River Forest. He participated with Calvary Memorial Church in an inter-church bowling league.

Hubbard was preceded in death by his father, D. Lyman Hubbard, and his mother, Ruby B. Hubbard, and is survived by cousins, Jocelyn McKinney of Peachtree City, Ga., and Jane F. Cashin, Manchester, N.J.

The internment service was held July 6, at Acacia Park Cemetery, Norridge. A Memorial Service will be held July 14, at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 324 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park. Immediately following the memorial service there will be a reception in Fellowship Hall of the church. Memorials can be made to First United Methodist Church of Oak Park. Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.

Lillian O’Brien, 98, Longtime Oak Park resident
Lillian O’Brien, 98, longtime resident of Oak Park, died June 26, 2007. She was born on Nov. 30, 1908 in Cambridge, Ohio. She later moved to Chicago and was a graduate of Senn High School. Ms. O’Brien was an executive secretary for Union Carbide and retired in 1973. She was a longtime member of St. Edmund Parish and was a past member of the Nineteenth Century Club. She enjoyed the French language, history and music.

O’Brien is survived by her daughter Barbara O’Brien (Garry) Scheuring of Summit, N.J. and her grandchildren Garry Michael (Shelly) Scheuring of Phoenix, Ariz., Stephen Joseph (Julie Brich) Scheuring of Oak Park, Kevin O’Brien Scheuring of London, England and Mary Kathryn Scheuring (Matthew Quinn) of New York, N.Y. She was the great-grandmother of Dominick, Patrick, Kyle, Leyla, Elise, and Caden. O’Brien was preceded in death by her husband George O’Brien and her brothers Richard, William and Al Stiles.

A visitation was held June 29 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home. Mass was held June 30 at St. Edmund Church. A private interment was held at Pine Ridge Cemetery in Loda, Ill.

Timothy Preston, 66, Journal delivery driver
Timothy Preston was remembered Sunday during a Memorial Service at Oak Park Temple for his passionate good humor, abiding curiosity and profound love of his family. Mr. Preston, 66, was born in London on July 1, 1940 to Mary Draper and John Preston. He came to the United States in the late 1950s and became a U.S. citizen in 1986. Always well read, he had strong political views that he was eager to debate with both friends and acquaintances.

Mr. Preston was active as a Supporting Parent in the Actors With Special Needs group at Lyons Township High School. It was one of many ways he spent expansive amounts of time with his son Elisha. Linda Preston, his wife of many years, said he had great respect for people with disabilities and believed that “it is OK to be different.” Mr. Preston, she said, believed that the community at large would always benefit from differences.

Mr. Preston died on June 27, 2007 in an auto accident in west suburban Willowbrook. At the time of the crash, Mr. Preston and Elisha Preston were working their route delivering Chicago Parent magazine. Elisha Preston suffered minor injuries as a result of the crash. Tim and Elisha Preston also worked together on a Wednesday Journal paper route for many years.

Tim Preston attended Congregation Or Chadash in Chicago. Rabbi Larry Edwards, of that congregation, officiated at the Sunday memorial at Oak Park Temple.

Rev. S. Anita Stauffer, 59, Authored more than 10 books
Rev. S. Anita Stauffer, 59, died in Melrose Park on June 26, 2007.

Stauffer was ordained on June 3, 1973. She received a BA in English from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., in 1969, an MDiv from Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Conn., in 1973, and took part in graduate studies in liturgics and church architecture at the University of Notre Dame in 1986 and research in liturgical and architectural history in Europe, England, and North Africa.

In 1969, Stauffer served as a legislative assistant to Congressman John B. Anderson. In 1972, she was the campus pastor at Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, and then pastor at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Coatesville, Penn., from 1973 to 1978.

From 1978 to 1987, she served as Worship Editor and Consultant for the Lutheran Church in America, and Specialist for Worship and Architecture for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) from 1988 to 1991. From 1991 to 1992, she served as Interim Coordinator for Worship for the ELCA. Beginning in 1992 she was Study Secretary for Worship and Congregational Life, Department for Theology and Studies, Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, Switzerland, until 1996.

Stauffer transferred to the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA, in 2002. Active in many areas of the church, Stauffer was Assembly Worship Coordinator (Hong Kong), Lutheran World Federation from 1994 to 1997. She served as a visiting lecturer in liturgics at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and also was a lecturer in church architecture at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago during the summer of 1990.

Widely published, Stauffer was the North American correspondent for Studia Liturgica from 1988 to 1992, and authored numerous articles and chapters and over 10 books including The Altar Guild (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978), Altar Guild Handbook (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978), Worship Wordbook,(co-author with Ralph R. Van Loon [Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1995]) and most recently, Altar Guild and Sacristy Manual (Augsburg Fortress, 2000).

Gifts in memory of Stauffer may be made to the Parish Nurse Program or the Music Program at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, or to the Colitis Foundation. Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home. A memorial service will take place at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest (7300 Division St., River Forest, IL 60305) on July 21 at 11 a.m.

-Compiled by Erica Magda

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