John Gancer, 50, River Forest resident and area Realtor

John Maurice Gancer, 50, died on Feb. 28, 2010 after a brief illness at home in River Forest with his family at his side. A graduate of St. Edmund School and Oak Park and River Forest High School, he earned an M.B.A. from Indiana University and worked as a real estate developer and an agent with Gagliardo Realty in River Forest.

He llived life with gusto and had many, many great friends and dance partners. He accomplished much in his 50 years and left a lasting legacy among those who knew and loved him.

John Gancer is survived by Sue (Sullivan), his wife of 23 years; his children, Mary Ann, Jack, Henry, and Abby; his siblings, Peter (Kate), Julie Downey, Susie (Bill) Lappe, and Stephen (Laura); 15 nieces and nephews; and his father, Donald Gancer. He was preceded in death by his mother, Mary Jane.

A memorial Mass will be held at 2 p.m. on March 13 at St. Luke Church in River Forest. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Gancer Children’s Education Fund, care of Mary Beth McIntosh at Community Bank, 7777 Lake St., River Forest 60305.

James Olis, 69, Banker, longtime Oak Park resident

James Hayward Olis, 69, died at home in the arms of his wife of 45 years, Cecelia Gillen Olis, on Feb. 16, 2010. He met his high school sweetheart at a teen club picnic in 1956 at the age of 16. That day he told a friend, “I’m going to marry that girl some day.” Marrried on May 2, 1964 at St. Gertrude Church in Rogers Park, after one year of college when his father became disabled, he went to work at Devon Bank in the mail room. His mother, Helen, was an administrative secretary to the president there. He quickly advanced through the ranks.

In 1969 he was the youngest person to graduate from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1972, with five small sons, he decided to complete his education at DePaul University, which he did in one and a half years. He took a brief hiatus from banking, working in the accounting field, after which he became self-employed as a recruiter for the banking industry, then returned to banking until his retirement in 2004.

The family moved to Oak Park in 1967 where they resided in the same home these past 43 years. A devoted family man, every summer he and his wife took their brood camping out West where they explored the national parks. One of the most memorable vacations was a trek into the Grand Canyon on foot, with pack horses to carry their tents, gear and nonperishable foods. Baby Kate was 5 months old.

The Olis’ home was a hub of activity for their children’s friends. His sister, Rosemary Keating, lived upstairs with her four children. With 11 young children growing up in the house, on any given day, there were numerous friends over to swim in the backyard pool, shoot basketballs, enjoy picnics, ride bikes in the neighborhood and, of course, sleep over.

After their children finished college and moved on, the Olises began to travel. Their trips included many places in Europe, South Africa, Australia and the Middle East. In between, they continued to enjoy camping, now in their RV instead of tents. He was a man who celebrated life and never let his health issues stand in the way. He died from the ravaging effects of Type I Diabetes.

James Olis Sr. is survived by his wife, Cecelia; his children, James Jr. (Christine), Brenden (Holly), Kevin, Daniel (Allison), Thomas (Alaina), Sean, and Katherine (Israel); his sister, Rosemary Keating; his grandchildren, Brittany, Teagan, Adam, Brendan, Jacob, William, Olivia, Sofia, Israel Jr. and Kassidy.

Visitation was held at Ahern Funeral Home, followed by the Mass of the Resurrection at St. Edmund Catholic Church, followed by interment at All Saints Cemetery. Donations to West Suburban PADS, 1851 S. 9th Avenue, Maywood 60153 are gratefully accepted.

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