James Olis, 69, banker, longtime Oak Park resident

James Hayward Olis, 69, of Oak Park, died at home in the arms of Cecelia Gillen Olis, his wife of 45 years, 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.” The prediction came true on May 2, 1964 at St. Gertrude Church in Rogers Park.

After his father became disabled, Mr. Olis left college 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 continue his education at DePaul University. He took a brief hiatus from banking, working in the accounting field and as a self-employed recruiter for the banking industry, then returned to banking until his retirement in 2004.

The family moved to Oak Park in 1967 and resided in the same home for the 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 a mere 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 out on their own, the Olises began to travel. Their trips included Europe, South Africa, Australia and the Middle East. They continued to enjoy camping, now in their RV instead of tents. Mr. Olis 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 Ave., Maywood 60153 are gratefully accepted.

Peter Hohman, 74, Lifelong Oak Parker, St. Giles parishioner

Peter A. Hohman, 74, a lifelong Oak Park resident, died on March 29, 2010 at home with hospice after a year-long battle with cancer. He attended St. Catherine of Sienna Elementary and Fenwick High School and graduated from Loras College in Dubuque. He worked his entire career as an accountant, which included running the family business, Hohman & Hill Business Services of America and Ebert Studio. He retired in June 2009.

Some of his favorite things were spending summers at the family cottage in Michigan, spending time with family and friends, reading, movies and golfing. The Cubs were another enthusiasm which began after he saw them play in 1945.

A member of St. Giles Parish and community, he had many friends, including the ones he grew up with who called themselves “Company A.”

Pete Hohman is survived by Suzanne Nee Rafferty, his wife of 52 years; his children, Peter (Kelly), Wendy Boberek, Matt (Veronica), Kevin (Margaret), Chris (Monica) and Nancy (Tom) Hakes; his grandchildren, Tim, Peter, Ryan, Colin, Lily, Anna, Abby, Aidan, Sophia, Andrew, Ruby and Milo; and his brother, Tom (Mary Beth). He was preceded in death by his parents, Burt and Gen; his son, Tim; his brothers, Rich (Rowena) and John (Donna); his nephew, John Robert; his mother-in-law, Corinne; and his brothers-in-law, Tom and Bill. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Giles Church in Oak Park with Father Chuck Dahm, O.P. of St. Pius V, presiding. Memorials to Heartland Hospice at 4415 Harrison St., Suite 403, Hillside, IL 60162 are appreciated.

Nancy Lopez, Former Oak Park resident

Nancy Lopez (nee Moore) of Huntley, formerly of Oak Park, died on March 26, 2010 at her home. She is survived by her children, Ed (Mary) Lopez and Kelly Lopez (Chip Egan); her grandchildren, Andrew, Mary Kate, Brideen, Jack, Daniel, and Rebecca; her siblings, George (Dottie) Moore, Dan (Pat) Moore, Tim (Jennifer) Moore, Kay (Chuck) Dutton, Mike (Pattie) Moore, Mary Helen Moore and Jim (Anne) Moore; and her brother-in-law, Dennis Walle. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ramon; her sister, Patricia Walle; her nieces, Brideen Moore and Kathy Moore; and her grandson, Joey Egan.

A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Alexander Church in Villa Park, followed by private interment.

Arrangements were handled by Steuerle Funeral Home in Villa Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Wisconsin or JDRF of Illinois are appreciated. For more information, please call 630-832-4161 or visit www.steuerlefh.com.

Alan Merrill, Norwegian Fjord Horse breeder, cross-country skier

Alan Wesley Merrill of Tryon, N.C., died peacefully with his family at his side at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. For almost a year, he battled brain cancer the way he lived his life – with determination, grace and dignity.

Born in Hanover, N.H., he graduated from Hanover High School in 1954 and from Cornell University in 1960 with a degree in agricultural economics. A member of Sigma Nu, he served in the army from 1956 to 1958. After graduation, he was hired by Oscar Mayer and Company and spent his entire 36 year career with them, retiring as corporate fresh meats sales manager and director of sales for Canada.

His passions were golfing and skiing, and he competed in the 55 km American Birkebinder cross-country ski race in Cable, Wis., earning the coveted completion medal for 15 straight years. After retiring, he and his wife, Lois, raised Norwegian Fjord horses on their farm in Dodgeville, Wis., and he served as president of the Norwegian Fjord Horse Association of North America.

They moved to North Carolina in 2004, where Mr. Merrill served as the Oak Hall Condominium Association president and board member of the Foothills Humane Society where he loved being the groundskeeper.

Alan Merrill is survived by his wife, Lois; his children, Pete Merrill (Kim), Philip (Emily) and their mother, Mary Merrill; his brother, Bruce Merrill (Robin); his sister, Barbara J. Merrill; his step-daughters, Lynn Hall of Oak Park and Wendy Brown (Tony); his grandchildren, Sam, Rory, Carolina, and Nathaniel; and several nieces, nephews and step-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held at the Congregational Church in Tryon, N.C. on March 17. A memorial fund has been established at Foothills Humane Society at P.O. Box 126, Tryon, N.C. 28782 to be used for the completion of a new shelter building.

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