Thursday marks the three-year anniversary of the murders of Tom Johnson and Leslie Ann Jones, a beloved and active married couple, who were brutally stabbed in their home in the 500 block of Fair Oaks Avenue during the height of COVID-19 lockdown.
In remembrance of the couple, who were as much known for their kindness and philanthropy as they were for their high-profile legal careers, neighbors and friends are gathering outside their home at 7 p.m., Thursday.
“We think about Leslie and Tom every day,” said John Gallo, the couple’s friend and neighbor. “While we’re still pained by the tragic circumstances of their death, that pain is far outweighed by the countless memories of their being our dedicated neighbors, wise counselors, and dearest of friends.”
Johnson and Jones are survived in life by their four adult sons, as well as numerous foster children. Gallo, per their request, has been acting as the family’s point person for police for close to two years now.
“I have confidence in the way the Oak Park Police Department and other investigative agencies are handling this,” he said.
The investigation into the double homicide remains open, but information to the public has been extremely limited. Two years have passed since the Oak Park Police Department issued a statement regarding the status of the investigation. Oak Park Village Manager Kevin Jackson and Police Chief Shatonya Johnson did not respond to requests for comment.
As time passes, the sorrow felt by those who had the pleasure of knowing Johnson and Jones has not dulled. The couple was famous in Oak Park for their welcoming hearts and their love of community. Johnson coached dozens of local kids in baseball; Jones championed public art. He served as a hearing officer for the Chicago Police Board, presiding over misconduct cases; she spent several years on the board of Hephzibah Children’s Association. Both worked to make the world a better place, in their careers and in their personal lives.
“The pain of Tom and Leslie’s loss is very real, and it is hard to believe three years have passed since we tragically lost them,” said Gallo’s wife Jeanne. “With time and by paying attention I see that Tom and Leslie live on in our community.”
Hephzibah’s “Art Heals” therapy program was founded in their memory. The program helps children in foster care express and understand their emotions through art, offering a creative outlet for the processing of trauma. The Oak Park Area Arts Council started a scholarship program in Jones’ name, benefitting young female artists of color.
“Even so, I miss them every day,” Jeanne Gallo said.
Wednesday Journal has reached out to the family for comment.