Gerald ‘Jerry’ Hugunin, 86, a life in aviation

Gerald R. Hugunin, 86, of Oak Park, died on Sept. 4, 2008. Born in Antigo, Wis., he credits his interest in aviation to Lindbergh’s historic flight across the Atlantic and a ride, as a teenager, in a Ford Tri-Motor aircraft.

Deeply religious, Mr. Hugunin was a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus and a Eucharistic minister in his Catholic parish in Oceanside, Calif., prior to moving to Oak Park.

Gerald served as a 1st Lt. Bombardier in a B-17 Flying Fortress (named “St. Christopher”) flying out of England during D-Day in 1944; on one harrowing mission deep into Germany, his hair was literally parted by a thumb-sized piece of metal flak which stuck in the bulkhead behind him (he thereafter carried that memento around as a good luck charm). He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.

After the war, he earned a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Marquette University and went on to work on top secret aircraft design (from the U-2 spy plane, the F-104 Starfighter, to his last project, the F-111 Stealth Fighter) at Lockheed Aircraft’s famous “Skunk Works” under Clarence “Kelly” Johnson in Burbank, Calif. At one point in his aeronautic career, he worked briefly at Atomics International/Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, Calif. where he brilliantly solved a tough problem in fluid dynamics, thus helping to create the fuel injectors for the Saturn 5 rocket engine which took our astronauts to the moon.

After retirement, while living in the San Diego area, he went back for flight training and soloed at age 76 (he’d always wanted to be a pilot). In 2004, to be closer to his son, he moved to the Oak Park Arms Retirement Home and later to Belmont Village, where he charmed many with his sense of humor and his abilities as a “raconteur.” He loved the arts-fully supporting his son’s art career-and was an avid amateur painter, with one of his paintings exhibited in an Oak Park show of seniors’ art.

Appropriately, he will be given an “aerial funeral” from the fully restored WWII B-17 “Aluminum Overcast,” in mid-September.

Jerry Hugunin was preceded in death by his daughter, Leslie Ann Hugunin-Nguyen and his sister, Patricia Neuwirth. He is survived by his sister, Mary Alice Neilson; a former wife, Jeane Hugunin (née Quade); and his son, James Hugunin, a professor of art at The School of the Art Institute.
-Submitted by James R. Hugunin

David Justice, 64, DePaul University vice president

David Owen Justice, 64, died on Sept. 10, 2008 at his Oak Park residence after a long struggle with Multiple Myeloma. Born in Logansport, Ind. on Sept. 29, 1943, Mr. Justice was vice president of Lifelong Learning and Suburban Campuses at DePaul University, where he also taught and served as dean for over 25 years. He was married in 1989 to Pamela Tate who survives him.

Mr. Justice was educated at Wabash College, graduating in 1965, and at Indiana University, majoring in history, education and sociology. He also studied at La Sorbonne, in Paris, and taught and conducted research at Universitat Hamburg in Germany. He was visiting professor of education at the University of Memphis.

Mr. Justice was an internationally recognized educator and an innovator in adult learning. He led a team of American university educators to assist the new South African Republic’s national program for education of adults whose learning needs had been ignored by the apartheid government.

At a critical moment in its organizational structure, he was appointed trustee of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin, Spring Green, Wis., where his unique talent for achieving consensus without rancor brought about the strengthening of a national institution.

Deeply committed to the principle of education for all, particularly adult learners, he was the driving force behind the extraordinary growth of DePaul University’s School of New Learning, a program especially tailored to the needs of adults who had no chance to attend college after high school.

In 2005, he was honored by the establishment of the David O. Justice Professorship of Developmental Economics at Wabash College, endowed by Bruce Baker, L.H.D., and created for the study of economic development in Third World countries.

In 2007, he was presented with the Via Sapientiae Award by DePaul University, the highest academic honor DePaul bestows on faculty and staff who have made distinctive and extraordinary contributions to the university. That same year, he received the Morris T. Keeton Award from the trustees of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

He grew up on his parents’ farm in Clinton Township, Ind., where he has donated over one mile of riverbank along the south shore of the Wabash River, and the farm adjoining it, to the Northern Indiana Citizens Helping Ecosystems Survive (NICHES). Recently, he donated a second farm, where had established a forest, to the same environmental organization.

In addition to his wife, David Justice is survived by his parents, John T. Justice and Martha Been Justice; his daughter, Kirsten Justice; his son, Owen (Catherine) Justice; his grandchildren, John Bundy and Marina Bundy; his brother Courtney B. (Diana) Justice; his brother-in-law Larry (Julie) Tate; his nieces, Susannah (Brian Coulter) Hall-Justice, Emily Justice, and Andon Tate; his nephews, Adam Mortell and Lt. Larry (Jeanette) Tate III, USN; and his grandniece, Ella Monet Justice-Coulter.

He was interred at Keeps Creek Cemetery in Clinton Township, Ind. on Sept. 14. A memorial gathering will be held from 4 p.m. until time of service at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21, at Unity Temple, 875 W. Lake Street, Oak Park. Memorial donations may be made to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, 383 Main Ave., Norwich, Conn. 06851, or

Funeral arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.
-Submitted by Pamela Tate

Velma Putnam, 95, Lifelong educator

Velma May Putnam, 95, of Oak Park, formerly of Lansing, Mich., died at home on Sept. 5, 2008. Born on May 1, 1913, in Ada, Mich., the daughter of Miles and Ina (Jones) Graham, Mrs. Putnam graduated from Grand Ledge High School in 1931, attended Eaton County Normal and Michigan State University.

She married DeVon Wickwire Putnam on Nov. 27, 1935. She taught three years in one-room country schools and also taught many years in the Lansing school district, retiring in 1978. She loved children and teaching and was a lifelong educator.

She moved to Oak Park in 1997 to be near her family.

Velma Putnam was preceded in death by her husband, DeVon, and by their daughter, Evonne M. Putnam. She is survived by her son Graham (Kathryn) Putnam; her grandson, Miles Putnam; his granddaughter, Elise Putnam; and several nieces, a nephew, and many dear friends.

A private memorial service is planned.

Jack Dubsky, 61, Outdoorsman, ironworker

Jack P. Dubsky, 61, of Oak Park, died on Sept. 3, 2008 at West Suburban Hospital. Growing to 6-feet-8 inches tall, his youth was filled with basketball, followed by a career as an ornamental ironworker, which spanned more than 35 years. He took pride in the many buildings in the Chicago area that he worked on.

An avid fisherman and hunter, Mr. Dubsky loved the outdoors, spending time in retirement at his cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where he created rustic furniture from materials found on his property.

Family and friends say he will be remembered as a devoted husband of 26 years and a loving father who had a keen sense of humor.

Mr. Dubsky is survived by his wife, Kimberly; his daughter, Anne; his mother, Antoinette; and his brother, Peter.

His body is being donated to the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Oct. 4, at St. Edmund Church, 188 S. Oak Park Ave. Arrangements are being handled by Kopicki’s Heritage Funeral Home.

Caesar Tabet, 93, Insurance executive, St. Jude supporter

Caesar P. Tabet, 93, of River Forest, died at home of heart failure on Sept. 9, 2008. Born to Lebanese immigrants in Chicago in 1914, he and his siblings were sent to live at Angel Guardian Orphanage when his father died in the flu epidemic.

He graduated from St. Philip High School on the West Side in 1932, then joined the Civilian Conservation Corps. He served in North Africa and Europe during World War II, where, according to the Chicago Tribune obituary, he was put in charge of 33 war camps and 250,000 prisoners.

After the war, he spent a year studying at Paris-Sorbonne University. He worked for Mutual of New York’s Chicago office, where he eventually became chief executive. He retired at the age of 88.

According to the Trib obit, he was a friend of Chicago novelist Nelson Algren and part of the team that led to the development of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

In addition to his wife of 50 years, Patricia, Mr. Tabet is survived by his sons, Caesar Jr. and Joseph; his daughters, Veronica, Monica, Mary Leone and Josephine Sarvis; and 19 grandchildren.

Funeral Mass was celebrated Sept. 13 at Our Lady of Lebanon Catholic Church in Lombard.

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