Actor and singer
Elizabeth “Beth Ann” O’Reilly-Amandes, 64, died on Jan. 17, 2020 at her Oak Park home, surrounded by her children, husband, and several of her siblings. Born Oct. 3, 1955 in Chicago, she was the seventh of Winifred (Giebel) and James O’Reilly’s 14 children. Later, the O’Reilly clan moved to Crystal Lake where she attended St Thomas Catholic School and Crystal Lake Community High School where she sang in choirs, acted in plays, and befriended the Amandeses, another large family of performers.
Beth Ann and Paul started dating in 1974 and continued doing theater and leading music for St. Thomas Church, the Happening in Christianity, and later at the Newman Center of Northern Illinois University where both were students. While in married student housing, the couple forged lifelong friendships with several other young families. Married at the Resurrection Center in Woodstock in 1980 they continued studying in DeKalb, where their first two children were born.
The young family moved to Chicago where she served on the board of Call To Action and was the tour manager for their theater company. She also toured the country as an actor/singer in Call To Action Theatre’s productions: “Between The Times” and “PeaceWorks,” often with Paul, his brother Tom, Beth Ann’s brother Eugene, her sister Jamie, and/or her sister-in-law Tammy.
She continued to perform with her family and friends in various Chicago companies throughout her life, including the Curious Theatre Branch, Bottom of Your Shoe Theatre Collective, and Open Door Repertory. She also worked at Bacino’s Pizza, then at Tulip Management Co. and LaSalle National Bank.
In 1989, the family moved to Oak Park, where they had already become very involved in the St. Giles Family Mass Community. For the next 30 years at St. Giles, she served on the Council of Pastors, was an active liturgy director, and mentored children of the Mass Community, where she was a featured liturgical singer and soloist. In 2000, she became the manager of Logos Bookstore in Oak Park. When that closed in 2006, she worked at Community Bank and then trained in early childhood education. During the 2010s, Beth Ann was the beloved nanny for the Rosado and Holzer-Lopez families.
A devoted and favorite client at the Buzz Cafe and Oak Park Chiropractic, she enjoyed traveling frequently to visit family on the West Coast, in New York, and in London where daughter Sarah lives with her family.
Beth Ann’s battle with breast cancer began in 2010. She was considered cancer-free in 2012, but it returned in 2017. In December 2019, her final trip was a magical Christmas spent in York, England, surrounded by her husband, children, and grandchildren.
Beth Ann O’Reilly-Amandes was the wife of Paul Amandes for almost 40 years; the mother of Michael and Sarah Amandes; the mother-in-law of Charlie Hanover; grandmother of David and Kate Hanover; sister of Willem, Cecilie (Leonard Brooks), Chris (Katrina), Gloria, Beau, Dorothy (Billy Imm), Kate, Jamie, Ned (Kathleen), Henri (Don Peters), Eugene (Tammy), Bridget (John Wagner), and Bernadette (Don Haderlein); and had many extended family members.
A memorial visitation was held Jan. 20 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home. On Saturday, Jan. 25, family and friends will meet at Oak Park’s St. Giles Church, 1045 Columbian Ave. for Mass at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Housing Forward (housingforward.org), where Beth Ann volunteered for years, are appreciated.