Among the many who made us who we are

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By Ken Trainor

Staff writer

In the past 12 months, we said goodbye to many who contributed to the tapestry that is Oak Park and River Forest. Here is a small sample of those we miss:


Gene Callahan, 80, Oak Park village trustee, 1973-77, expert on affordable housing

Patrick Dooley, 81, homicide victim, longtime community volunteer who was committed to public service

Harold Rohlfing, 84, musician and music educator at Concordia University

John Mahoney, 77, acclaimed stage (Steppenwolf), film (Moonstruck), and TV (Frasier) actor and longtime Oak Park resident

Janet Barnstable, 76, popular Julian Middle School teacher, Global Virtual Classroom pioneer, and Golden Apple Award winner for excellence in teaching

Nancy Follett, 86, community activist, charter member of Women Leaders in Philanthropy, Oak Park Township supervisor, director of the Follett Corporation and chair of the Follett Educational Foundation

Merrill Becker Jr., 89, Realtor, Triton College trustee, colonel with a 40-year career in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard

Chuck Dressel, 68, longtime owner of Dressel's Hardware, excelled in three sports at OPRF High School and Princeton University

Sister Jean Crapo, 93, longtime Rosary/Dominican University archivist, admissions director, teacher, dean, and author of a history of Dominican University's first 100 years

Father John Carolan, 92, Catholic priest for 66 years, 45 of them at St. Catherine-St. Lucy Parish, including 20 years as pastor

Sergio Quiano, 77, homicide victim, parishioner at St. Edmund for 30 years, familiar to many from conversations as he walked the streets of Oak Park

Gary Severe Cole, 76, former Oak Park village trustee, executive chef of Blue Duck Catering

Richard Ratcliff, 86, former River Forest village attorney, 1948 OPRF grad, attended the University of Michigan on a football scholarship

Angelo "Al" Provenzano, 93, World War II veteran who was involved in the Normandy invasion, one of the great talkers around town

Connie Henderson-Damon, 69, Fulbright scholar, Army Reserve nurse, health care educator, Historical Society volunteer

Al Sye, 67, OPRF High School principal in the mid-1990s, advocate for racial equity in education, All-American collegiate wrestler

Michael "Iron Mike" Healy, 91, Fenwick High School grad, member of the Fenwick Hall of Fame, U.S. Army major general, Green Beret who was awarded the Bronze Star and two Silver Stars [NEED TO FIND A PIC ONLINE]

Tyler Lumar, 24, alleged victim of the Cook County criminal justice system

Sabina Ott, 62, painter, art educator at Columbia College, "Artist Mother or Chicago," who turned her porch into a pop-up art gallery

Paul Obis, 66, founder and publisher of Vegetarian Times magazine, friend of Fred Rogers

Norb Teclaw, 82, longtime OPRF High School instructor, champion of Percy Julian's legacy, founding member of the annual Julian Symposium at OPRF through the Institute of Science Education and Technology

Paul Sassone, 76, longtime editor and columnist with the Oak Leaves and Pioneer Press

Val Camilletti, 78, longtime proprietor of Val's halla Records and walking encyclopedia of musical culture; she was one of Oak Park's most recognizable faces

Father Jordan McGrath, 86, legendary Fenwick High School math teacher

Marv Abrahamson, 93, longtime owner of Abrahamson's Furs and known as "The Mayor of Marion Street"

Kathryn Jonas, 70, arborist, urban forest champion, community activist (see Viewpoints, page 34)

Mary Seibel Cronin, 89, actor, co-founder of Village Players community theater group

Sarah Coglianese, 40, health blogger and advocate, raised awareness of ALS, recipient of OPRF High School's Tradition of Excellence award

Erik Jensen, 89, owned Nielsen's Restaurant and Erik's Deli


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Janeen Wolek from Oak Park  

Posted: March 9th, 2019 1:34 PM

Hello, My husband was Paul Obis who started Vegetarian Times in 1974. He was one of the founders of Vegetarianism that lead into Veganism. I wrote a virtual, interactive memorial in his honor - - I thought it might be of interest to this group since he was once part of your group. I also have donated all of his magazines to Brown University, which has a Nutrition and Environmental Department. Warmly, Janeen Obis

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