Kathryn Jonas, 70

Community activist, urban forest champion

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Kathryn Jonas, 35-year resident of Oak Park, active community member, beloved mother, friend & partner, died on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Born on May 18, 1948, she is survived by her lifelong partner, Gary Johnson; their daughter, Erika Vernon (Christopher), brother Matthew Jonas (Bonnie), sister Marilyn Willits (George), and sister Carolyn Jonas (Sergio). 

The family is hosting a celebration of Kathryn's life on Sunday, Nov. 4 in Oak Park. Please email kathrynejonas@gmail.com for details.

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Daniella Kathy Zanin Pereira from Chicago  

Posted: October 24th, 2018 5:39 PM

From Glenda Daniel now living in Spain: In a city named for its trees, Kathryn Jonas was their biggest champion. She was an inspiration to her fellow volunteers from Openlands TreeKeepers and the Morton Arboretum, growing and nourishing new oaks from acorns, planting and maintaining trees on public streets and in parks and vociferously protesting bad tree care habits like volcano mulching by private contractors and public employees. She also campaigned tirelessly for a municipal tree care ordinance in Oak Park, which apparently has yet to be established. Every community needs a Kathryn Jonas.

J Michael Williams from Oak Park IL  

Posted: October 4th, 2018 8:41 AM

Kathryn was a rare person. She has left us too soon.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: October 3rd, 2018 2:09 PM

Kathryn defined a sense of community and was truly committed to quality of life issues in Oak Park. Her voice and spirit will be missed.

Les Golden  

Posted: October 3rd, 2018 12:15 PM

Kathryn Jonas was a rare individual. She combined deep environmental concern with a rationality and powerful presence often missing among activists. She complemented concern with an ability to articulate clearly her passion and palpable and effective action. When I first met Kathryn, I thought she was another crazy, but on listening to her articulate her issues I realized she was a gift from God of intellect, formal training, compassion, action, and moderation. Kathryn was on the correct side of every issue. She, as many of us, bemoaned the village's never legislating a tree preservation ordinance and, perhaps even worse, deciding to terminate the citizens' advisory forestry commission. I would like to suggest that the commission be reinstated and named, "The Kathryn Jonas Forestry Commission." Kathryn, your family, the trees, the animals they harbor, your multitude of friends and admirers, and I will miss you and your spirit dearly.

Kline Maureen  

Posted: October 3rd, 2018 9:05 AM

Sincere condolences to Gary and Erika and family - Kathryn was a true gift. That lovely photo captures her well - if only you could include an audio tape of her distinctive voice and laugh, I can hear both in my mind!

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