Mary Ellen Matthies

Mary Ellen Matthies (nee Leavitt), 82, died peacefully in her sleep on April 10, 2021. Born on May 17, 1938 to Eloise and Charles Leavitt, she grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Cedar Falls, Iowa. She graduated in 1960 from the State College of Iowa. After teaching four years in Davenport, she married the late Rich Matthies in 1965 and they raised their family in Oak Park. She worked at the Oak Park Regional Housing Center. She played an integral role in the founding of this acclaimed agency, which discovered ways to prevent blockbusting and promote integrated housing in the western Chicago suburbs. She also served in leadership positions in various League of Women Voters chapters and was a member and enthusiastic volunteer at various Unitarian Universalist churches. In their later years, she and her husband lived in Downers Grove. The last few years of her life, she loved living at Brookdale in Lisle.

Mary Ellen and Rich were devoted parents and grandparents. She is survived by her son, Kent (Kristin), and their two sons, Micah and Ellis; her daughter, Kristin (Mark) Angel, and their daughter, Juliet; and her sister, Patricia Cook. Mary Ellen was predeceased by her husband in 2019. 

A memorial service was held on Oct. 9 in the Le Jardin Room at Cantigny Park, 1 S 151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Oak Park Regional Housing Center or the League of Women Voters of Chicago. 

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