In Memory: Those who made a difference

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Every year we say goodbye to a remarkable array of individuals who have made contributions, large and small, to these communities. The following is just a small sample of that very long list:

  • Carl Occhipinti, 61, former artistic director of Village Players Theatre, who led the turnaround that saved the longtime community theater company for a number of years, and whose philosophy was: say "Yes" to people and ideas.
  • Hussein Saleh, 61, teacher, singer, poet and restaurateur (proprietor of Oak Park's only Egyptian restaurant, Tut Oasis, formerly located at Harlem and Madison).
  • Rev. Julie Harley, pastor of First United Church of Oak Park, who showed remarkable grace as she endured, and eventually succumbed to, ALS. [pic, 2/19, p. 26]
  • James Kuba, 79, longtime Oak Park businessman who owned Kuba Jewelers on South Oak Park Avenue for over 50 years.
  • Tom Ferguson, 75, former OPRF High School history instructor and department chair.
  • Rachel Smylie, 21, a popular volleyball and lacrosse player at OPRF, was a junior at the University of Michigan and studying abroad in Africa when she was killed in an auto accident. She was described as "a force field of joy."
  • Donna Cervini, 72, judge who lived a life of public service, dedicated to justice.
  • Ruth Glos, 101, worked in the OPRF High School cafeteria for 36 years.
  • Anne Prete, 93, founder of Alverno Religious Art & Books, co-founder of the Christian Family Movement.
  • Regina Kuehn, 93, an expert on church architecture and liturgy who lived in Berlin, Germany through the end of World War II. She was a champion of Catholic Church reform.
  • Sheila von Wiese Mack was murdered while on a trip to Bali with her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend.
  • Joe Organ, 89, developer, realtor, longtime community activist and River Forest Service Club stalwart. His Kenyon College roommate was actor Paul Newman.
  • Roger Veatch, 90, worked on the Manhattan Project.
  • Harry "Top" Peterson, 91, longtime Rotary member, WWII veteran and POW who wrote a book about his experiences. Owned Food Foundation Inc.
  • Thomas Sturr, 78, Oak Park village trustee, architectural engineer who helped design the Oak Park Pedestrian Mall in the mid-'70s.
  • George (Paterakis) Parry, a 56-year resident of River Forest, known for his longstanding civic engagement. He was also an amateur historian of Greek culture.
  • Lou Castellaneta, 99, artist, member of the Oak Park Art League, and father of actor Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson.
  • Ruth Peaselee, 92, former Oak Park Public Library children's librarian.
  • Mike Casey, 73, musician, violin and guitar instructor, leader of the Farmers Market band.
  • Robert Botthof, 85, former OPRF principal and Fenwick president. When his wife died, he became a Dominican priest.
  • Jeanette Fields, 94, ambassador of architecture, developed the Glessner House docent program, Hemingway Foundation co-founder, Wright Building Conservancy co-founder, longtime architecture critic for Wednesday Journal.
  • Franklyn "Bud" Hayes, 81, counselor, poet, peace advocate.
  • Mark Morkovin, 97, aeronautic and aerospace scientist.
  • Joe Dooley, 70, founder of the Dooley Brothers Band.

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