Voting In Brookline: Polls Open | Brookline, MA Patch - Brookline, MA Patch

Voting In Brookline: Polls Open | Brookline, MA Patch - Brookline, MA Patch Voting In Brookline: Polls Open | Brookline, MA Patch - Brookline, MA Patch Posted: 03 Nov 2020 12:00 AM PST BROOKLINE, MA —It's Election Day in Brookline, Tuesday, Nov. 3. It's also the final day of voting after weeks of early voting and mail in voting for the 2020 general election. In addition to the presidential and congressional races, there are several key races at the state and local level, as well as five ballot questions. Voting was different this year thanks to rules approved to expand early and mail-in voting in light of the coronavirus pandemic. If you haven't voted already, we've got you. First: head to the Secretary of State's website to check your voter status and find your polling place . Voting on Election Day Polls in Massachusetts are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can also use the Secretary of State's w

Illinois coronavirus deaths: Remembering those who lost their lives - Chicago Tribune

Illinois coronavirus deaths: Remembering those who lost their lives - Chicago Tribune

Illinois coronavirus deaths: Remembering those who lost their lives - Chicago Tribune

Posted: 16 Apr 2020 03:05 AM PDT

They were mothers and fathers, daughters and sons. Many were proud grandparents. Two were sisters from a tight-knit South Side family. All were loved, relatives say, and will be forever missed.

As the number of deaths attributable to COVID-19 ticks upward, the Tribune is working to chronicle those who have lost their lives in the Chicago area or who have connections to our region. These are some of those victims.


Harold Davis Jr., 63, radio host and youth advocate, Chicago. Died April 12.

Harold Davis Jr. grew up in the harsh and often unforgiving parts of this city. He knew firsthand its inequities, and he would, in ways both physical and spiritual, spend his adult life doing his best to change it for the better.

As he told a reporter in 2014, talking about a radio show he hosted but also about the way he lived his life, "We deal with community-based issues. We deal with mostly from a solutions standpoint. We try to attack issues head-on, and we're trying to deal with the actual—what's it going to take to solve a problem."

Harold Davis Jr., 63, radio host and youth advocate, Chicago.

Harold Davis Jr., 63, radio host and youth advocate, Chicago.(Carl Wagner/Chicago Tribune)

He attempted to solve problems in a variety of ways: daily for two hours of conversation at WGBX-1570AM as host of a passionate and provocative radio show, "The Butt Naked Truth" which began airing in 2010; as head of an organization that was in the business of supplying food to Chicago public schools and, most deeply, working with at risk youth to repair school auditoriums and in the process mend their own lives.

"There just was no one like Harold," said Jadine Chou, the Chief of Safety and Security of the Chicago Public School system. "He had a profound impact and tremendously beneficial effect on the lives of hundreds of city children. It is no exaggeration to say that he saved hundreds of lives."

Married and the father of a teenage son and daughter, Davis died of complications from COVID-19 on Easter morning at Rush University Medical Center. He was 63 years old.

"We met at a night club and bonded over the fact that we were both drinking water," Monica Davis said. They married in Las Vegas, lived in Chicago for a time and eventually settled on a blueberry farm in Michigan. Their son, Harold N. Davis is a 21-year-old senior at the University of Arizona and their daughter Mikayla is eight years old.

"My husband was committed to the youth of Chicago from the day we met, actually since he was a little boy," Davis said. "This was his lifelong journey, but he was careful not to brings the troubles he encountered into our family life. He wanted to keep us safe too."


She has heard from many of the now grown people her husband guided and the internet, as usual, is filled with comforting words, such as those from people calling Davis "a Chicago legend" and another saying, "the world has lost a giant."

Hermene Hartman, a civil rights activist and publisher, wrote, "It is with a heavy heart that I tell you…he was quite a guy and dedicated to discussion on the Black community, making it a better place."

His wife believes that Davis was motivated by his own experiences in CPS and growing up in the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex on the Far South Side.

Before they began working closely together a few years ago, Chou had known Davis by reputation, for he had long had a relationship with CPS as a mentor and gang specialist.

He started that work during a time of raging gang troubles, with shootings and murders a daily occurrence. He took it upon himself to try to help and volunteered to moderate gatherings in school auditoriums in order to reach large numbers of students, to calm tensions.

School principals were willing, even eager, but at school after school he found auditoriums that were virtually useless, with broken seats (or none at all), warped floors and peeling paint.


And so did he expand his mission beyond food and his company, Amer-I-Can, starting to hire youngsters to refurbish and otherwise bring auditoriums back to life, in the process teaching them tools of the construction trade.

The high school age kids, many from different neighborhoods and affiliated with various gangs, were paid for their work and in the process learned not only the particulars of the construction trade but also how to rebuild their own lives.

Most of these kids were from dangerous communities and broken homes. Many were involved in gangs and drug dealing. Some of their parents were in prison. Some of them had children of their own.

Davis kept a relatively low profile but was the subject recently of a fine WBEZ- 91.5-FM story in 2017 and some years ago attracted the attention of Tribune columnist Dawn Turner Trice. In one of her two stories about Davis, she quoted him as saying, "[Chicago's children] are not planning for their futures anymore. They are planning for their funerals."

"They are extremely angry. Their mamas have left them, their daddy left them. You're talking about people who have been abandoned. "These kids don't have anything of substance that they really own, nothing that roots them down," Davis said. "So, they don't care about anything or anybody."

He helped changed those attitudes in many, talking to his employees—they earned as much as $15 an hour—about such topics as anger management, personal responsibility and self-respect.

"It was magical, the way he communicated with young people," Chou said. "He really did want to move the needle, to help these kids move forward. He had come from such humble beginnings, he wanted to help these kids find a good path to follow."

Third Ward alderman woman Pat Dowell met Davis a decade ago.

"He was a quietly powerful man who struck me as fair," she said. "We often talked of the state of the city's black community and through them I learned of his passion to work with wayward black youth and his desire to give them the tools to redirect their lives. I supported his CPS initiative of working with teens to rebuild school auditoriums by advocating for schools in my ward to be a part of his program."

"He was authentic, honest and wise. He has earned his place in Chicago's history."

The jobs program he started initially took place in the summers and it kept the kids away from the seductions and dangers of the streets. In recent years, sparked by financial support from an anonymous private donor and a foundation, the program was able to run year-round. He was also an essential part of CPS's Safe Passage program that expanded in 2013.

Davis, with his trim mustache and quiet but authoritative manner, exuded charisma. That came through loud a clear on his Tuesday-Thursday afternoon radio program, on which he welcomed community activists, politicians and others from the city's African American community. On the Harvey-based station, known as Big Gospel Express, he discussed a wide variety of issues, explored solutions and was never loath to criticize the area's power structure. But the most frequent topic was young people.

Chou says that she and CPS are working to ensure that these types of programs will continue when schools reopen, knowing full well that, she said, "It won't be easy. Harold was one of a kind."

-Rick Kogan


Viraf Darukhanawalla, 77, Hoffman Estates. Died April 3.

Like many anguished family members of Illinois residents who have died in recent weeks due to COVID-19-related illness, the widow of Viraf Darukhanawalla prefers to say as little as possible about her late husband.

They married in 1973 in Bombay, now known as Mumbai. The city changed its name under the Shiv Sena political party, in tribute to the Goddess Mambadevi.

"We migrated from India," said Villoo V. Darukhanawalla, who continues to live in their Hoffman Estates home with one of their two grown daughters. "Our children studied here."

She added: "They do not yet want to speak about what happened."

Viraf Darakhanawalla worked primarily in food preparation for the airlines at O'Hare International Airport. After retiring, she said, he did some odd jobs, including part-time work at Kmart.

His widow said he contended with diabetes and heart trouble for much of his life.

"And then this suddenly came up," she said. Her husband was ailing at home for part of March, and eventually admitted to the hospital.

"And things did not work out there. I do not blame them for that. The cause was this coronavirus." The official cause of death was pneumonia brought on by COVID-19.

Darakhanawalla's survivors include his wife; two daughters; a son-in-law; and two grandchildren.

"We have our families here," Villoo Darakhanawalla said. "Now that he is gone…" After a pause she concluded the conversation: "It's just that we are so, so heartbroken."

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Homes & Crematory in Naperville.

-Michael Phillips

Roger Griggs, 74, retired FBI agent, Chicago. Died April 5.

As a longtime special agent for the FBI, Roger Griggs was known for his meticulous nature, an old-school South Side Irish Catholic who could methodically put together complex cases like a jigsaw puzzle.

Grigg's tenacity helped him and his team break some of the Chicago area's biggest cases, including the sensational slaying of Dianne Masters, whose body was found in the trunk of a submerged car in the Sanitary and Ship Canal in 1982.

Roger Griggs, 74, retired FBI agent, Chicago.

Roger Griggs, 74, retired FBI agent, Chicago.(Family photo)

"What really distinguished Roger was he was very thoughtful about cases, putting two and two together and not jumping to conclusions," said Thomas Scorza, a former federal prosecutor who worked with Griggs on the Masters case and many others. "Sometimes it's a very complicated picture ... a hundred pieces of a puzzle that have to be put together and put together carefully. And boy, Roger was the top of the line in the FBI at doing that."

Griggs, who retired from the bureau in 2002, died April 5 at a south suburban hospital of complications related to COVID-19, according to his family. He was 74.

Griggs is survived by his wife of 51 years, Rosemary Griggs, his son Jason, daughters Rosemary, Julie, and Melissa, and six grandchildren. A celebration of his life is being planned by the family for after the threat of coronavirus has passed.

Born and raised in Chicago's East Beverly neighborhood, Griggs graduated from Brother Rice High School in 1963 and attended Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, where he was a pitcher for the school's baseball team. He later earned advanced degrees in psychology and accounting from DePaul University..

From 1969 to 1972, Griggs served as a first lieutenant in the Army's elite 82nd Airborne Division and also as an army intelligence officer.

His daughter, Rosemary, described her father as an old-school, patriotic man who was "fiercely loyal to friends and family."

"He considered going into the priesthood when he was younger," she said. "He had a strong moral compass but also was a bit of a wild child at times. And he had a great sense of humor."

Griggs was also an adventurer who loved travelling, camping and hiking, his daughter said. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro when he was in his mid-20s, studied Latin, French and Mandarin, and took his family on trips across the country and the world, his daughter said.

Before falling ill, Griggs was planning at least three trips this year, including one with his wife to England and Scotland and another to attend his grandson's summer baseball camp, his daughter said.

Rosemary Griggs said her father beat colon cancer 10 years ago and was in good shape before he contracted the virus. "I feel like we got robbed," she said.

Griggs joined the FBI in 1978 and was stationed in Atlanta and California before settling at the bureau's south suburban office in Tinley Park, covering territory long known as a haven for mob figures and corruption in law enforcement and politics.

John Johnson, who was Griggs' longtime supervisor in the south suburbs, said Griggs often played his cards close to the vest. Quiet and self effacing, he never bragged about his work or tried to put himself in the limelight, Johnson said.

"Roger was one of those rare agents that I used to refer to as a supervisor's dream," Johnson said. "He was very hard working. You assigned him a case and you never had to check back on him...It was going to be solved."

No case was bigger than the murder of Masters, the wife of Chicago lawyer and longtime legal "fixer" Alan Masters, who maintained when she disappeared in March 1982 that she'd run off with a lover.

Nine months later, Masters' body was found in a car in the Sanitary and Ship Canal near Willow Springs after a barge became snagged on a pile of submerged vehicles. Her skull had been crushed and she had bullet wounds to her head.

"It was the case of a lifetime," said Scorza, who had been investigating insurance fraud stemming from vehicles put in the canal when suddenly it turned into a murder probe. "There was political corruption, legal corruption, police corruption. It was a very intriguing case."

Scorza recalled one moment in the midst of the investigation when Briggs and his partner, Special Agent Ivan Harris, decided to take a closer look at Masters' wrist watch, which appeared to have stopped at the exact same time as the clock on the car's dashboard -- presumably because they'd gone in the water simultaneously.

They sent the watch to an FBI technician who later came back with a startling report -- the watch had not stopped because of any water damage.

"We were sitting there, Roger and I and Ivan, and all of a sudden we came to the conclusion that someone set the watch to match the clock," Scorza said. "And who would think to do that except a police officer?"

The aha moment was one of many breakthroughs that eventually led to Alan Masters being charged with arranging with the then-police chief of Willow Springs and a Cook County sheriff's police lieutenant to have his wife killed and collect on an insurance policy. All three were found guilty of various counts, but not of her murder.


Scorza said the revelation about the watch was "exactly the kind of thing that could be overlooked" by an investigator without Griggs' attention to detail.

"They figured it out by not giving up, by thinking it through," Scorza said. "It was like something right out of a movie."

Leroy Perryman Jr. (AKA Fantastic L'Roy), 74, Hazel Crest. Died March 26.

For nearly two decades, the "Fantastic L'Roy & the Bulletproof Band" brought back old-school blues on Monday nights at Linda's Place in Chicago.

The man behind the powerful voice and flamboyant charisma was Leroy Perryman Jr., who died March 26 as a result of pneumonia from a COVID-19 infection.

Leroy Perryman Jr., 74, Hazel Crest.

Leroy Perryman Jr., 74, Hazel Crest.(Family photo)

Perryman, 74, gave his final performance March 9 at the Back of the Yards staple on the city's South Side.

He worked as a contractor and electrician for most of his life. But, relatives say, music was his true passion.

His second wife, Linda Perryman, the bar's owner since 1988, said her husband was the ultimate entertainer. "He was a beautiful person," she said. "He just loved to entertain people."

He grew up in a large, musical family in Clarksdale, Miss., home to such legendary blues singers as John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. The second oldest of 12 children, his education was delayed while he picked cotton and soybeans to help support his family.

Perryman also performed in churches, parties and talent shows in high school before moving to Chicago in 1966 after graduation.

He and his first wife, Ruby, with whom he attended high school, married in 1968. The two had moved to Chicago separately and reconnected.

The former couple had four children, including twin boys and two daughters, during their 30-year marriage.

Damaris Perryman-Garrett said her father was loving but strict when it came to their education.

"He used to always tell us school is our only job," said Perryman-Garrett, a Georgia lawyer. "I think because he grew up in such poverty, he wanted us to do better."

She said her father read the daily newspaper religiously, instilling in her a deep love for reading.

"I believe that's how I learned to read," she said. "I would look up at him and say, 'What's that word. What's that word.' One of my fondest memories is sitting at the table reading with him."

Though he was well known on Chicago's South Side, cutting demos at various local studios over the years, Perryman was never signed by a major record label. The fact he was never discovered was noted in a 2002 Chicago Reader article that said it was "yet another indication that the Chicago blues recording industry's legendary star-finding machinery is in sad disrepair."

The author noted Perryman's prowess for R&B, soul and even jazz as well.

It read, "When he hits the stage the line between sincerity and showmanship dissolves; his ample repertoire of vocal tricks and techniques - lugubrious vibrato, glissandos, dips, soaring upper-register wails, and aching, tight-throated ascents - embellishes rather than masks his earnestness."

At Linda's Place, Perryman sang mostly blues classics with a wireless mic, leaving him free to roam the bar to interact with the crowd. Besides its faithful regulars, the tavern draws a wide crowd during its live performance nights, especially when occasionally included in the Chicago Blues Tour.

Leroy and Linda Perryman married in 2005. The two, impeccably dressed and often wearing a matching color, were inseparable. He often dedicated the song "My Lady" to her in his performances, his wife said.

She said it was about five years ago that she handed over daily business operations to her daughter, LaTonia Herron, and a grandson so that she and her husband could spend more time together in their Hazel Crest home. But they returned each Monday for another Fantastic L'Roy & the Bulletproof Band performance.

Last year, his wife said, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. And so, when he felt tired and feverish about a week before his death, Linda Perryman assumed it was related to his cancer. He tested positive for COVID-19 days after hospitalization.

She cherishes a final text.

"I told him I loved him," she said. "He said, 'I love you more and more and more.'"

"We had a happy life," his wife said.

Leroy Perryman Jr. is survived by seven children.

His daughter, Damaris Perryman-Garrett, said the family put together a recording of many of their voices and asked the hospital staff to play it for their father in his final moments. She repeated the phrase he often told her, "I love you and there's nothing you can do about it."

She told the Tribune, "I believe he knew he was loved and was not alone. We take comfort in that."

Christy Gutowski

Jose Vazquez, 51, Chicago. Died March 30.

As a passenger service agent at one of the world's busiest airports, Jose Vazquez found himself surrounded by thousands of people each day as the coronavirus began its rapid spread.

The Chicago man worried he might catch the virus at work and bring it back home to his wife and two daughters. He had diabetes, an underlying health condition making him particularly vulnerable. But, at 51, he was strong and healthy - or so he thought.

Jose Vazquez, 51, Chicago.

Jose Vazquez, 51, Chicago.(Family photo)

He died March 30 in a Chicago hospital.

He was the oldest son of Salomon and Maria Vazquez, a hardworking Wicker Park couple who shared their deep Pentecostal faith with their five children.

Though the oldest, his younger sisters didn't easily relinquish control to him. He was their fun-loving playmate and protector, said sister Marisol Vazquez Edmonds, who recalled the day her brother taught her to ride a bike. They called him "Mikey."

It was his senior year at Wells Community Academy High School that he met his future wife. Maria Vazquez said she remembers the exact moment in 1986 in her drama/speech class that she noticed him.

"I looked back and all I see was this guy's huge smile," she said. "I can still visualize it. That moment is just always in my memory."

The teenagers dated about seven years as they grew up and he saved for a ring. When he finally proposed, the perfect plan of a romantic boat trip along Lake Michigan was foiled by his motion sickness.

"That didn't stop him," his wife said. "He kept leaning over the boat but when he felt a little better he proposed… It was beautiful."


They were opposites, in a sense, who balanced each other out. She is quiet and reserved. He was outgoing and a real people person. The couple married in May 1994 and had two daughters whom they raised in Logan Square.

His wife said he doted on Marissa, 24, and Sarina, 18, both part of the nonprofit Chicago Cuatro Orchestra in Humboldt Park. Whether a school event or orchestra performance, he proudly posted videos on social media of their achievements.

His oldest daughter, Marissa, recalled special memories of her father, like how he often invented a new sandwich recipe or made an old favorite, pollo guisado, or chicken stew, when left in charge of meals.

He was a sports fanatic, especially football. A flag supporting a Chicago team always flew outside their home. On Sundays, extended family would gather to watch the game and eat Lou Malnati's pizza, his favorite.

"Whenever I brought friends over he was very welcoming and made sure they were comfortable," Marissa Vazquez said. "Whenever we wanted to go somewhere, he'd always be happy to drive us. He was just that kind of a dad and my friends would always say, 'Your parents, your dad, they're awesome.'"

To support his family, Jose Vazquez worked for nearly 25 years at Precision Plating Company in Chicago as a quality engineer. But, in 2016, he began a new job at O'Hare International Airport as a customer service agent for Envoy Air, a subsidiary of American Airlines.

His last day at work was March 11. A few days later, his wife said, he started to cough. At first, they assumed, it was his allergies. He was hospitalized that next week as his condition worsened and died March 30 as his wife, sister and daughters rushed back to the hospital to be near in his final moments.

In the days that followed, the Vazquez family tried to give him a proper memorial. Dozens of relatives and friends watched the visitation services on video.

His hearse next drove down his block, with tearful neighbors standing outside holding signs. Many began walking behind it in procession. It passed the family home and stopped in the parking lot of nearby Darwin Elementary School, where mourners formed a circle but did not hold hands. They prayed.

Jose Vazquez was buried under the reaches of a large tree. His family will hold a larger celebration, one where they may all be together and embrace, when it is safe to do so.

Until then, they are heeding social distancing guidelines, and encouraging others to as well. Afterall, they said, too much is at stake.

Christy Gutowski

Coby "Terrell" Adolph, 44, Chicago. Died April 3.

Coby "Terrell" Adolph was an adventurer whose idea of a good time was to ride his Harley Davidson motorcycle to the Mexican border or jet off to Europe. But he was also an entrepreneur who built two entirely different businesses, as well as a gentle-hearted mentor and friend.

"He was a chameleon," said his friend Aprill Edwards. "He could work and have a relationship with everyone. He could just operate in so many circles."


Coby "Terrell" Adolph, 44, Chicago.(Tese Porter)

Adolph, a Chicagoan, died April 3 from causes associated with COVID-19, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner. He was 44.

Adolph grew up on the West Side, and as an adult got into the real estate business, renovating houses. He also started a successful trucking business, Edwards said, all the while keeping a bubbly personality.

"He always had this half-grin, and if I were to describe his voice, it was like he was almost giggling," she said. "My husband said, 'I've never seen him angry.' That's just his personality. Very light-hearted."

Adolph's his true love was travel. Edwards said he once spent a month in Africa, and recently went to England and Germany. His childhood friend Tese Porter said he also took long trips on his Harley with like-minded buddies; the cover photo of his Facebook page shows him cruising near the rocky plateaus outside Lupton, Ariz.

"He enjoyed his life to the fullest," Porter said.

Adolph is survived by his parents, children and a grandfather. A private memorial service is planned.

John Keilman

Nancy Ferguson, 77, Chicago. Died April 2.

If you needed something to get done on Chicago's West Side, you just had to head toward the house on Polk Street by Cicero Avenue, the one with the swing-set in the back yard. There, Nancy Jacqueline Ferguson would leap to your side.

"My mom was a true community activist and there were people in and out of our house all the time," said Michelle Ferguson, one of Nancy Ferguson's four children. "She was just this go-to person. She was always helping someone apply for this, helping someone else to do that. She worked on food deserts, health disparities, getting peoples' light turned back on, all kinds of issues. She just loved everything about Chicago, and especially the people of the West Side."

Nancy Ferguson, 77, died in a Berwyn hospital on April 2 from complications from COVID-19.

With four children and eight grandchildren (not to mention a great-grandchild and another on the way), Ferguson, a graduate of John Marshall Metropolitan High School, was revered by her large family and a huge circle of people she had helped with the pressing details of their lives.

Professionally, her daughter said, Nancy Ferguson worked in administrative and secretarial functions for a variety of local politicians, including former 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith, the late former 24th Ward Ald. Michael Chandler and, for a time, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Along with Michelle Ferguson of San Antonio, Tex., survivors include additional daughters Janeine Ferguson of Hillside and Andrea Ferguson of Bellwood, as well as son Derek Ferguson of Aurora. Nancy Ferguson was formerly married to Lamar Ferguson, who also survives her.

With large funerals not permitted under current guidelines, Michelle Ferguson said the family was planning to hold a big memorial on Nov. 12, which would have been Nancy Ferguson's 78th birthday.

"We had very little growing up," wrote Derek Ferguson, the chief of police at Benedictine University, "but we never felt poor. We had each other. The Fergusons' house was a house of love."

Chris Jones

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Robert Dugal, 58, Oak Park. Died April 9.


Robert Dugal lived in an exotic, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in Oak Park, just down the street from the master architect's Home and Studio.

Mr. Dugal, who suffered from a rare degenerative disease and was an advocate for others with disabilities, died Thursday, April 9, at West Suburban Medical Center In Oak Park. He was 58.

Robert Dugal, 58, Oak Park.

Robert Dugal, 58, Oak Park.(Family photo)

The Cook County Medical Examiner listed acute respiratory failure as the primary cause of death.

Contributing factors were COVID-19 and Friedreich's ataxia, an inherited disease that causes progressive nervous system damage and movement problems, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

"He just fought the fight. And he wasn't taking guff from anybody," Mr. Dugal's sister, Kathy, an administrative assistant in the Cook County Department of Public Health, said Friday.

People who suffer from Friedreich's ataxia, she added, "have to be stubborn to make it through life."

Born in south suburban Evergreen Park, Mr. Dugal grew up in Wright's Nathan Moore House, a large 1895 Tudor Revival home on Oak Park's Forest Avenue.

After a 1922 fire burned down the house to the top of its first floor, Wright redesigned the house for the original client, giving it a combination of Gothic, Mayan and Sullivanesque decoration that departed from the simplicity of his Prairie Style.

"It was a great house to grow up in," Kathy Dugal said, recalling hide-and-go-seek games as well as Wright's intricate wood features and art glass.

Mr. Dugal, who lived in the house until his death, graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School in 1979 and from Purdue Univesity in West Lafayette, Indiana in 1984. In high school, he was on the wrestling team.

"Things were hard for him, but he always had a positive spirit," Matt Courtney of Michigan City, Indiana, who went to grade school and high school with Mr. Dugal, said Friday. "I was always amazed by that....and I think that kind of spilled over to the rest of our friends."

Mr. Dugal began using a wheelchair in his twenties, his sister said, but for years, he was an active member of his community, participating in local politics, coaching girls' softball and soccer teams and conducting a survey of elementary schools to ensure that they complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

He belonged to the Democratic Party of Oak Park and served as a co-chair of an Oak Park community festival called A Day in Our Village.

He was a member of St. Edmund Catholic Church in Oak Park and a founding member of the Progress Center for Independent Living, a social services organization in west suburban Forest Park.

"He was a very sweet, gregarious soul and will be missed by many," said Chicago resident Susan Montgomery, who grew up with Mr. Dugal in Oak Park

In addition to Kathy Dugal, survivors include two brothers and two sisters. Another brother previously died of complications from Friedreich's ataxia.

Members of the family will attend a graveside service Tuesday at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in west suburban Hillside.

Blair Kamin

Jim Wolf Sr., 72, South Holland. Died April 6.

Jim Wolf Jr. drove around Chicago, Blue Island and South Holland with his two sons and wife the day after his father died.

Among their stops, they visited a bowling alley where Jim Wolf Sr. had bowled a 299, a church parish where he played Simon the Zealot in an annual "living last supper" play, and the White Sox stadium where he enjoyed taking in summer games with his family.

"It was a really great day," Wolf Jr. said. "A lot of laughter."

Wolf Sr., known as "Big Wolf" to the basketball players he coached and "Papa Wolf" by almost everyone else, died April 6 from complications due to coronavirus. He was 72.

After a stint in the Army, discharged in 1971, he married and had four sons.

He worked in the family business all his adult life as a union sheet metal journeyman at John J. Rickhoff Sheet Metal Company in Harvey. He also served as a long-time assistant basketball coach at St. Francis de Sales after coaching at St. Jude for about 10 years.

"He was all about fundamentals," St. Francis de Sales head basketball coach Kevin Wolfe said. "He would break down stuff at practice, chart stuff from games and break it down on the board for kids too. He was perfect for the game. He was always four or five steps ahead. In the huddle, the info he had was so good. And after games we would have pop and pizza and just talk about things."

The unusual gym at St. Francis runs east and west with the benches a step up from the court running north and south, making it seem like the players compete in a pit.

"Jim was always behind bench in a director's chair taking stats and charting," Wolfe said. "You would hear this loud voice out of nowhere, 'Put in so-and-so, so-and-so needs some time.' If the starters weren't playing well, he'd say give the other kids a shot, maybe it will light a fire under the starters' rear end."

Wolf Sr. reveled in doing the "little things" for friends and family.

Before he became ill, he delivered groceries for senior citizen friends.

With little notice, he would drive as far as North Carolina to babysit his grandchildren. He once went to Pennsylvania to watch a former basketball player compete at a small aviation school. "The kid told him, 'Nobody has ever come watch me before,'" Jim Wolf Jr. recalled his dad telling him.

Handy with tools, he built shelves and designed so many closets the sales staff at the Container Store knew him by name. He noticed creaky steps to a friends' pool and rebuilt their stairs.

"He never charged," Wolf Jr. said. "That's how he would get to know people better."

He once even built a three-wheel motorcycle from metal scrap and an old Volkswagen engine in the late 1970s, giving kids rides on it at his children's birthday parties.

Wolf Sr. doted on his seven grandchildren, keeping their heights recorded on a cabinet wall at his home.

On March 26, family took Wolf Sr. to the hospital after a few days of symptoms, including an increasing fever. A few hours later he was on a respirator.

He occasionally showed signs of improvement, but he remained in intensive care. Wolf Jr. said he last talked to his dad after he checked into the hospital.

"I told him we loved him and were praying for him and he'd be OK," he said. "The last thing he said was, 'I love you.'"

Wolf Sr. "was a list-maker," his son said. He left his family with a detailed chart of wishes for his wake and funeral.

The family plans to cremate and hold a memorial service at a later date.

A "car guy" who preferred Ford, Wolf Sr. requested no General Motors vehicles be part of transporting his body. He also asked for homemade chocolate chip cookies "made with love."


"He said I don't want anyone to be given a hard time if they take too many cookies," Wolf Jr. said, a nod to how the family would rib him for often grabbing an extra cookie at gatherings.

"He made us laugh," Wolf Jr. said.

Shannon Ryan

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Norma Hoza, 101, Wilmette. Died April 2.

In 1918, Lina Bratschi of Chicago was pregnant and suffering from the Spanish Flu. But the Swiss immigrant survived, and in February of 1919, delivered a healthy baby girl she named Norma.

More than a century later, longtime Wilmette resident Norma Bratschi Hoza died of complications from COVID-19 on April 2. She was 101. According to available public records, at the time of her death Norma Hoza was the oldest recorded COVID-19 death in Cook County.

Norma Bratschi Hoza was born Feb. 16, 1919, to Walter and Lina Bratschi, who settled in Chicago before moving their young family to Winnetka in 1924. It was in the north suburbs that Walter Bratschi found jobs as a plumber.

Wilmette resident Norma Hoza died April 2, 2020. She was 101.

Wilmette resident Norma Hoza died April 2, 2020. She was 101.(Family photo)

The couple bought a home in Wilmette, where they juggled their work at the family plumbing business with raising three sons, and volunteering with the Boy Scouts and the Lions Club. When a couple from the neighborhood died in close succession, leaving behind three young boys, Norma Hoza stepped in immediately, Carrie Hoza said.

"My grandmother just decided, 'we're taking these boys in,'" Carrie Hoza said. "Harvey was 18, Marty was 13 and Vic was 11. And they already had my dad and two uncles, so after they folded the three other kids into the family, they now were raising six boys. From the stories I've heard, it sounds like the Hoza home was the place to be."

Norma Hoza would go on to host homecoming celebrations for three Army veterans — two of her sons, Phil Hoza III and Jeff Hoza, who served in Vietnam in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and granddaughter Carrie Hoza, who served in Iraq in 2004.

In 1979, with their family grown, Norma and Phil Hoza found "a slice of heaven" when they bought a cabin on Wheeler Lake in Lakewood, Wisc., which soon became known to family and friends as "Loon-E-Lodge," said Carrie Hoza, recalling that her grandparents loved to entertain, and threw "lovely parties, where everyone felt welcomed."

Phil Hoza died in 2004, and in 2007, Norma Hoza moved from the family's Wilmette home to Mather Place, a senior living residence, and continued to work at Bratschi Plumbing until 2009, when she retired at the age of 90.

Carrie Hoza said the family had celebrated Norma's 101st birthday in February, and the matriarch had enjoyed her celebration and was mentally "sharp as a tack." But after being diagnosed with the coronavirus last month, after just a few days the family knew the end was near.

With family and friends prohibited from entering Norma Hoza's hospital room, Carrie Hoza said Norma's loved ones attempted to say goodbye with a virtual visit.

"We tried to have a Zoom family meeting, but we had trouble with the technology, so it didn't turn out well," Carrie Hoza said. "But the nursing staff at Evanston Hospital was beyond amazing. They took such good care of her, holding up the phone so she could hear us, and reading her our letters and prayers. None of us could be there when she died, so my grandmother's nurse, Alejandra, was like a guardian angel to all of us."

Norma Hoza is survived by her brother Raymond Bratschi; sons Phil Hoza III, Jeff Hoza and Alan Hoza; sons Harvey and Martin Youngberg; 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

With social-distancing rules prohibiting large gatherings, Carrie Hoza said her grandmother's family and friends hope to have a celebration of Norma Hoza's life at a future date, followed by interment at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie.

Karen Cullotta

James Quigley, 77, semi-truck driver, died March 27.

Jokester, storyteller, family man

James Quigley was a proud Irishman with a slew of stories to tell.

He liked spending time with people, especially his large family boasting more than a dozen grandchildren and even a few great-grandchildren, and making them all laugh.

"He could be a lot of fun when he wanted to be," joked his wife of 56 years, Janice Quigley.

James Quigley died March 27 from pneumonia due to the coronavirus. He was 77.

Quigley was born in Chicago on Christmas Eve 1942. His father was a CTA bus driver, Quigley's family said, and at 16 he became the first one in his family to get a car.

"He was a little bit of the rebel of the family," his daughter Mary Aitchison said.

Quigley graduated from the Chicago Vocational High School and worked as a semi-truck driver in the city, often clocking overtime but always carving out hours for those most important to him — his family.

The Quigleys raised their six children on the Southeast Side, but one son passed away eight years ago in a construction accident. The death spurred her husband to become more family oriented, Janice Quigley said. She was proud of how he moved forward.

"As he got older, he came out of his shell," she said.

Quigley gave many years to the Annunciata Athletics Association, and was a member of the Teamsters Union and the Samurai Sledders of Chicago. He fished with his grandkids and celebrated with them. At Elmwood Funeral Chapel, Quigley comforted people as a wake attendant.

Quigley loved John Wayne movies. "A Quiet Man," about a boxer who flees to Ireland after a deadly match, was his favorite. Janice Quigley said they "had to watch that all the time."

The two met after Janice followed James to a bowling alley, sparking what would lead to almost 60 years of marriage.

"I was attracted to him right away," Janice Quigley said. "He was Mr. Neatnik and I was Mrs. Mess."

When asked what made her husband laugh, Janice Quigley said, "Oh, I did. Always yelling at him."

Even when Quigley was in the hospital, his wife called with a loving threat to get better that completely cracked him up.

The family doesn't know how James Quigley was infected with the coronavirus. He and his wife both came down with the infection, but James had complications like emphysema, his wife said.

One day, he couldn't breathe and Janice Quigley called an ambulance. Her husband was taken to Advocate Trinity Hospital. She waited out the coming days alone in quarantine.

"Which is the worst thing of this disease," she said. "The separation and no closure. I wouldn't wish that on anybody."

Aitchison and one of her brothers were able to see their father in his final days. The children called him and waved to him through glass. He asked how everyone was doing. He said he was worried about his wife.


"He blew me a kiss," Aitchison said. "He gave me a thumbs up."

Quigley is survived by his brother and sister, his children, more than a dozen grandchildren, five great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Morgan Greene

Larry Harris, 62, retired police officer, Oak Park. Died April 1.

Larry Harris was a free spirit who held a lot of jobs and gave himself so many nicknames it was hard to keep up, coining aliases like Cloudy, Cisco and his final one, Nozomi Mbugua Mfume.

"I don't know the genesis of that," said his friend, the Rev. Marshall Hatch of Chicago's New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. "The funniest thing to me is he asked to be called by these names he made up. People would say, 'Did you see what Nozomi wrote on Facebook?'"

Larry Harris, 62, retired police officer, Oak Park.

Larry Harris, 62, retired police officer, Oak Park.(Family photo)

The retired police officer, security guard, restaurant manager, movie extra, warehouse worker and bookstore clerk died April 1 of causes related to COVID-19, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner. He was 62.

Harris grew up on Chicago's West Side and attended Dunbar Vocational High School. He and Hatch met working in the kitchen at Michael Reese Hospital, washing dishes, scrubbing floors and pushing carts loaded with food trays. There they developed a friendship that lasted for decades.

"He was a selfless guy, one of the funniest guys I ever met, who had the kind of genuine personality that never changed over 45 years," Hatch said. "Guy was just a heck of a loyal friend."

The two were fraternity brothers at Western Illinois University, where Harris studied political science. Harris worked in many fields after graduation — "He had about a thousand jobs," said his sister, Gale Dean Harris — but his most notable position was as a police officer for the Chicago Housing Authority. He also had a brief cinematic career, appearing as a bartender in the 1987 comedy "Big Shots," his family said.

Outside of work, he enjoyed dancing, playing the guitar and becoming "a fairly celebrated Facebook political pundit and provocateur," Hatch said. He lived in Oak Park in recent years but always kept in touch with his large, Chicago-based family.

"I can see him coming in the door now for a plate," his sister said. "That's what I'm really going to miss."

Though a funeral service will have to wait, some members of the family have written poems in his remembrance. One, written by his sister Brenda Faye Harris, concludes like this:

"So now Larry, may you rest in peace. I'll think of you every day. Sleep on, Larry. Sleep, until I come your way."

Harris is also survived by his sons Kenan Lamont Harris and Germaine Darnell Harris; daughter Lisa Buckner; nephews Robert Perkins, Larry Brown and Tracy Brown; niece Tammy Forest and godsister Gracie Sloan. He had 12 grandchildren.

-John Keilman

Elizabeth Cota, 98, Oak Lawn. Died April 4.

"She was never sick. We would always joke with her that she was going to outlive us all," Elizabeth Cota's granddaughter said Wednesday. "She never took medications. Not a Tylenol. Not a vitamin."

Mrs. Cota, 98, of southwest suburban Oak Lawn died Saturday, April 4, at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

The Cook County Medical Examiner listed the primary cause of death as sepsis, a major illness caused by the body's response to an infection. A COVID-19 viral infection was among the contributing factors, according to the medical examiner.

Born in Chicago in 1921, Mrs. Cota served in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) during World War II, her granddaughter said.

The U.S. Army unit allowed women to serve in non-combat positions. Mrs. Cota and her husband Michael lived for many years in Princeton, Illinois, about 100 miles southwest of Chicago, but moved to Oak Lawn when her husband became ill, her granddaughter said.

Her husband died in 2004.

"She continued on," her granddaughter said. "She would go and play bingo" at a nearby senior center. "She had a lot of friends."

Mrs. Cota was hospitalized last week.

"It caught us very off guard," her granddaughter said. "Because this is the first thing that's ever affected her."

-Blair Kamin

James Gettings, 94, Chicago. Died March 29.

Born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1925, James Gettings moved north to Chicago in his early 20s and paved a way forward for generations to come.

A true patriarch, Gettings' family said they will remember him as someone who always reached back for others.

James Gettings, 94, Chicago.

James Gettings, 94, Chicago.(Family photo)

Gettings was one of many African-Americans to leave the south during the years of the Great Migration. He first arrived in Pennsylvania and worked in a shipyard, learning to weld. Two years later, he moved to Chicago where he worked as a journeyman until the day he retired.

"He made it, that's the best way that I can put it,"said Gettings' granddaughter in-law Napatia Gettings. "You don't have many people still living from the Great Migration. To even think about what they had to go through to pick up and move to the big city and also be successful is just huge."

In the time she knew him, Gettings said her grandfather-in-law still had that fighting spirit. He saw himself as a provider, working to ensure others had the same opportunities for a good life.

Gettings died March 29 in Flossmoor as a result of pneumonia due to COVID-19. It all happened in a matter of a week according to his granddaughter in-law.

A family member sent her and her husband a video of Gettings just the night before his passing. "He was on the ventilator and that for me was just very traumatic just to see him like that," Gettings said.

Up to that point, the family says he was still sharp and high functioning for a 94-year-old.

"He survived more than most people, even colon cancer, just to live this long to die from this," Gettings said. "That's just kind of the real disappointment for all of us as a family."

About five years ago, Gettings sold his property on the south side of Chicago and moved into a senior living home. In hindsight, Gettings said she wished they had taken him out of the home as the virus began to spread, but says the family was given so little time to act. Gettings did not know how many other residents at the assisted home have contracted the virus, but she assumes her grandfather-in-law was not the only one who became sick.

Gettings' wife and high school sweetheart Carrie Bell Scott passed away in 1998. The two are survived by their four sons, as well as their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Unfortunately, like many others, the large family will not be able to gather for a funeral anytime soon.


"That's the other really hard part," Gettings said. "Not being able to have that home-going celebration that you want, or that they deserve. You live 94 years, you deserve that."

-Sophie Sherry

Mario Araujo, 49, firefighter, Chicago. Died April 7.

Mario Araujo was as committed to his family as he was to his job as a Chicago firefighter, those who knew him said. In both aspects of his life, he was driven by a single motivation — he wanted to help.

"He was one of the most selfless and caring individuals," said his niece, Christina Araujo. "He had such big dreams. We're sad he couldn't get to them all."

Araujo died Tuesday of causes related to COVID-19, the Chicago Fire Department said. He was 49.

Chicago Fire Department firefighter Mario Araujo.

Chicago Fire Department firefighter Mario Araujo. (Chicago Fire Department/AP)

Araujo, who grew up in Chicago, joined the department in 2003 and spent most of his career with Truck Co. 25 in Rogers Park. While colleagues remembered him at a press briefing Wednesday as helpful and dedicated to the city's residents, his friend Rosa Elena Castillo said his devotion to her family went far beyond the norm.

She said he helped to raise her 7-year-old son, Leo Anthony, taking him to school or watching him while she worked, even if he had just completed a 24-hour shift.

"He took 100 percent responsibility, as if (Leo Anthony) was his blood son," she said. "He was doing the most he could for my son. He was always with us when we needed him."

That same dedication came through in his work, she said.

"He said he enjoyed the job because it gave him the opportunity to help people who need it," she said. "When there was a chance to do something for someone, he was there."

Christina Araujo said the same was true when it came to his relatives.

"He was just a great person and had a big heart," she said. "This has really put our family in shock. We're all just trying to do the best we can to support each other."

Araujo is survived by his mother, Maria.

- John Keilman

Christine McLaurin, Chicago, 86. Died March 25.

Christine McLaurin was the matriarch to 10 children and dozens of grandchildren who often held court at her Galewood neighborhood home of 25 years, according to her family.

The Mississippi-born McLaurin moved to Chicago about 60 years ago and later got married and started a family. She was a dutiful homemaker to her tightknit clan, family members said.

Widowed after her husband James' death in 1998, McLaurin, 86, was never at a loss for words and happy to offer counsel to family and friends.

"She was a sweet woman. Funny, very helpful loved to talk and always trying to give good advice," her third youngest child Anthony McLaurin said Wednesday.

Though she'd been slowed through the years by health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes, and walked with the aid of a walker, McLaurin said his mother's mind remained sharp.

Last month Christine McLaurin was rushed to a suburban hospital by ambulance after complaining she wasn't feeling well, her son said. After testing positive for COVID-19, she was put in quarantine.

Once secluded, her family never saw her alive again.

McLaurin died on March 25 at West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. An autopsy performed last week showed she died of COVID infection, as well as hypertension and diabetes.

Anthony McLaurin said his family was devastated by his mother's death, not only by how quickly the illness progressed, but by how disruptive it was to his family's grieving process.

"All of our hearts are broken. Because of (COVID-19), you really can't have a funeral and family get-togethers and you can't do what you usually do when somebody passes," he said, adding that his mother's remains were being cremated.

-William Lee

Asberry Stoudemire Jr., 54, Musician, Chicago. Died March 29.

When it came to music, Asberry Stoudemire Jr. was a natural.

He began playing piano, organ and drums when he was 4 years old, said his daughter Miranda Stoudemire.

"He got into music because he was raised in the church with my grandmother," she said.

Over the years, Stoudemire became increasingly proficient, focusing on keyboards and singing. And though he embraced various musical styles, church music was central to his artistic identity.

Stoudemire graduated from Orr High School and later Wilbur Wright College, then worked in the nursing field. But music remained integral to his life.

In 2015, he retired from nursing to pursue his dream of working full time as a musician.

"He was happy about it, because he was ready to travel the world," said Miranda Stoudemire.

While recently on tour "in Mississippi and Memphis, down South," she said her father became ill.

He checked into a hospital while on the road, to deal with his diabetes. Then he returned home and checked into Loretto Hospital on the West Side. He died there on March 29 of pneumonia due to COVID-19 infection, with diabetes and congestive heart failure as contributing factors. He was 54 years old.

His recording of his song "Rescue Me" carries these lyrics:

"I am tired Lord,

And I don't know what to do.

But will you rescue me,

If you please?"

A GoFundMe page for Stoudemire says a funeral is being planned for April 30 or May 1.

Stoudemire's survivors also include sons Breone and Berry Stoudemire, his former wife Shelley Stoudemire, and three grandchildren.

Howard Reich

Rhoda Hatch, 73, retired teacher, Chicago. Died April 4.

Rhoda Hatch was just 20 years old when she began raising her seven younger siblings after their mother's death and as their preacher father worked.

The family lived in a public housing project on Chicago's West Side.

Despite those early struggles, Hatch was the first in the family to graduate college. She became a teacher in Chicago's public schools. Later in life, after her soldier son was sent overseas to the Kuwaiti border, she was an outspoken anti-war activist.

Rhoda Hatch, 73, in a photo taken last year, holds her 10-month-old great-niece Sofia Hatch. Hatch died last week after contracting the coronavirus.

Rhoda Hatch, 73, in a photo taken last year, holds her 10-month-old great-niece Sofia Hatch. Hatch died last week after contracting the coronavirus. (Family photo)

Hatch, 73, died April 4 from complications related to COVID-19. Her asthma and diabetes were listed as contributing factors.

"She was the best big sister ever," said the Rev. Marshall Hatch, the longtime pastor at New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in West Garfield Park.

He said his sister was a gifted church organist, beginning as a teenager, first at their father's church and then later at the church where he's served as pastor for 35 years.

The single mother raised two sons, including a younger boy whom she adopted when he was about 15 months old.


Her oldest, Wesley, was a soldier stationed in the Persian Gulf some 30 years ago. The youngest member of his unit, he joined the Army in 1988 after high school in hopes of financing his college education.

The family said he died on Mother's Day 1992, just two months before the 20-year-old was due to come home, fatally shot in random violence in Texas near his military base.

Her son's assignment before his death had led Rhoda Hatch to organize Citizens Against Desert Storm and propelled her to the forefront of the protests against U.S. involvement in the gulf. The group included members from nearly two dozen Chicago churches and held peaceful demonstrations and vigils in Chicago and Washington.

She appeared in the Tribune, The New York Times, USA Today and People Magazine, with appearances on television news and cable talk shows.

Rhoda Hatch told the Tribune in a January 1991 interview before her son's death that she supported him but was concerned that many young black men enlisted due to a lack of education and employment opportunities and then were sent overseas.

"He just wanted to go and do what he had to do," she said. "So I said, 'You may be doing what you have to do, but don't be surprised if you hear about me doing some things that I need to do.'"

At a candlelight vigil in Washington, People and USA Today photographed Rhoda Hatch sitting on a curb in front of the White House. "I was tired. Sort of like Rosa Parks," she told the Tribune in 1991. "The next thing I knew the photographer was taking pictures."

Back then she spent hours each day on the phone appealing to politicians, pastors and other military families while also working as a teacher, raising a younger son and directing church and school choirs. She retired as a teacher after a more than 20-year career.

Her youngest son, Joel, 37, said his mother "could find the good in every situation and the silver lining behind every dark cloud."

He recalled his mother's response when she was asked why she chose to adopt, besides wanting Wesley to have a sibling, she said she "had a lot of love to give."

She kept that promise, he said. Her son said she also was a tower of strength when his brother died.

Less than one month before own death, he said, his mother kept a constant vigil at the hospital bedside of a longtime friend, the Rev. Ferdinand Hargrett.

Joel Hatch said Hargrett, whom he considered a father, had helped raise him.

Hargrett, who had cancer, died March 8. His mother became ill shortly later. Rhoda Hatch died April 4 after several days in the hospital on a ventilator.

When asked by a Tribune reporter in 1991 about her anti-war effort, her response was reflective of a lifetime of perseverance and courage.

She said, "It's better than just sitting at home crying all the time."

-Christy Gutowski

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L.B. Perry, 78, Chicago. Died April 2.

L.B. Perry was a son of the Mississippi Delta who moved to Chicago in the 1960s to experience a different side of the country, his family said.

"He just wanted a change of scenery," his daughter Vernice Perry said. "He was in the country and wanted to move to the city. He used to always talk about growing up in the cotton field and working for a nickel a day. It was kind of rough back in those days."

L.B. Perry in the mid-2000s.

L.B. Perry in the mid-2000s.(Vernice Perry)

Perry, the patriarch of a five-generation family, died in Chicago Thursday from causes related to COVID-19, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner. He was 78.

Vernice Perry said her father grew up in Carrollton, Miss., a town of a few hundred people 85 miles north of Jackson, and came to Chicago in 1969. He worked in a Chicago steel mill for 35 years, a tough job that left him covered in dust and dirt at the end of the day.

He returned to the family home at 73rd and Winchester, where he enjoyed sitting on the porch to watch the neighborhood children play. When he wasn't doing that, he'd be in front of the TV, watching beloved shows like "Sanford and Son" and Western movies (John Wayne was a favorite).

"He and my mom used to sit and watch 'Family Feud' at 5 o'clock every single day," Vernice Perry recalled.

Perry is also survived by his wife, Mary Perry, his daughter Littelyn and son Jerry Stancil. He had nine grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

"He was just a quiet, humble man, a great father," Vernice Perry said. "He will truly be missed."

- John Keilman

Steve Hudson, 51, Chicago. Died April 5.

A seat in the gym next to Steve Hudson was a coveted position.

"Everybody loved him," his wife Monica Hudson said. "He was like a magnet. People would move seats to try to sit by him to soak up his basketball knowledge."

Steve Hudson was a long-time assistant for Mac Irvin Fire, an elite Chicago AAU team. He seemed to know every player in the city and relished spending his time in high school gyms across the city and throughout the suburbs.

Steve Hudson in a photo from 2016.

Steve Hudson in a photo from 2016. (Nick Irvin)

Coaching colleagues credit Hudson for his behind-the-scenes work in scouting local talent. Friends tout his generosity and recall with a laugh how he could turn any location into a dance floor.

Hudson, of Chicago, died April 5 due to complications from the COVID-19 virus. He was 51.

Hudson was hired last year as the assistant athletic director at Thornwood High School in South Holland. He previously worked as an assistant dean at Academy for Learning in Dolton.

Hudson was a forward at Calumet High School, where he graduated in 1986 before playing at and graduating from Highland Community College. His love of basketball was lifelong, joining the Fire in the 1990s as founder McGlother "Mac" Irvin's right-hand man.

"He watched boys' games and girls' games," said Fire coach Mike Irvin, a son of Mac Irvin. "If it was a big game, Steve was there. You could ask any question to Steve: 'How many points did Marcus Liberty score against (Chicago Vocational)?' He knew the history. He knew everything about every player. He made it his business to watch everyone play."

Sonny Vaccaro, a former sports marketing executive who founded the showcase high school basketball ABCD camps, said he never met anyone with as pure of intentions as Hudson.

Hudson once asked him for tickets to a showcase game and brought about 60 students from under resourced schools.

While Vaccaro, who worked at Nike and later Adidas and Reebok, dealt with high profile athletes throughout his career, Hudson asked him to help talk up lower-tier players who needed an opportunity on a college roster.

Hudson called Vaccaro about a year ago to ask if he could help complete Mac Irvin's dream of building a community gym in a "tough Chicago neighborhood."


"I can say this with clear mind," Vaccaro said. "Steve Hudson was put on this earth to help kids who really needed a lot of help. I've met a lot of people over my lifetime. Steve was never one to mention himself or ask, 'Can you get me this?' or, 'Will you let me sponsor a game?' He was Mac's guy. Mac Irvin and Steve Hudson helped the kids in the inner city of Chicago as much as anyone I've ever seen."

Hudson even met his wife through sports. They were kids on opposing Little League teams.

They began dating as 18-year-olds after high school and married in 1992.

Their South Side home was not only a shelter for their own three children but a temporary safe haven for a multitude of kids. Hudson couldn't turn anyone away.

"Someone could say, 'Hey I have this kid. I don't want to lose him to the streets,'" Monica Hudson said. "He'd pull them in. I didn't always like it, but he did it. He was the dad everyone wanted to be their dad. He always said, 'I grew up poor so I know what it's like.' Someone helped him and he was in the position to help other people out. It lit a fuse under him that you have to give back."

Coaches recall his hearty laugh and ability to lighten the mood – anywhere. He once did the running man dance in the middle of the Las Vegas airport as a crowd gathered and clapped.

"He put a smile on my face," said Nick Irvin, Morgan Park's coach. "He danced. He cracked jokes. We used to do this little thing (chanting,) 'Steve! Steve! Steve!' He'd do the percolator. He'd do a lot of different dances. He was just a great guy."

Monica Hudson said her husband, who had diabetes, started feeling ill on March 24. He went to the emergency room at Community Hospital in Indiana on March 26 – the last day she saw him.

"He loved everybody," she said.

-- Shannon Ryan

Mary Minervini, 91, of Oak Lawn. Died April 1.

Mary Minervini remained a caregiver long after her six children grew to have grandkids of their own.

At Manor Care nursing home in Palos Heights, she spotted residents who needed a drink or a blanket and enlisted the nurses for help. When her children visited her there, she still found ways to comfort them.

"She would be like, 'Here, sit down, kick your feet up, let me rub your feet,'" said Marie Minervini, her youngest child.

Mary Minervini, 91, of Oak Lawn, died April 1 after testing positive for coronavirus. She is pictured with one of her 20 grandchildren, Marina Smentek.

Mary Minervini, 91, of Oak Lawn, died April 1 after testing positive for coronavirus. She is pictured with one of her 20 grandchildren, Marina Smentek. (Family photo)

"She always wanted to help people. She would do without to make other people happy."

Minervini grew up in Chicago and moved to Oak Lawn when she married her husband, Frank, in 1946. They were married for 53 years until his death. She had their children — Michael, Mario, Frank, Daniel, Mary (Gallegos) and Marie — over 21 years.

She was a stay-at-home mom for some of that time but worked as a sign-language interpreter by the time Marie was born. Both of Minervini's parents were deaf, Marie said, and the work was important to her. She interpreted at hospitals and courthouses and later taught park district classes.

Minervini most loved to be around family, whether it be for game nights or big parties that required her to cook Italian food all day.

She often offered up food to her children. If they visited after she went grocery shopping, she tried to hand off some spaghetti. If she made or ordered a meal for herself, she asked to share it with them. She knew how to cook on a budget, and she made a delicious manicotti.

Minervini's attachment to her family made their separation due to coronavirus even more difficult. Her nursing home closed to visitors March 10, and a week later, Minervini was rushed to Palos Hospital because she wasn't feeling well and had a high fever. She had a gallbladder infection but also tested positive for coronavirus. She had sepsis when she died.

She was hospitalized for two weeks, and that made the family wonder if she could have been retested for coronavirus to see if she could be removed from isolation. They were told there weren't enough tests, Marie said.

"It was the worst," Marie said. "Between my sister and I, we would visit my mom every day at the nursing home. She's always been around family. She's never been alone. If we were gone for one day, she was like, 'I haven't seen you in a week.' We went from seeing her every single day to nothing for (weeks)."

A priest visited Minervini in the hospital to anoint her, and that offered some comfort.

Minervini did not want a wake or funeral. She wanted to donate her body to science because she had deformities she thought could be studied, but she was told she was past the age limit for such a donation, Marie said.

Her birthday was July 3, and Marie is hopeful the family can hold a celebration of her life if circumstances improve by then. Minervini has 20 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren to help celebrate.

Colleen Kane

Sandra Piotrowski, Tinley Park, 77. Died March 28.

Sandra Piotrowski and her husband Don hadn't just been married for nearly 57 years.

They had known each other since they were children, back in the 1940s, in Chicago's Back of the Yards, home of the Union Stock Yards.

They both went to Florence Nightingale Elementary School. Married at age 21 in 1963, they had two sons, Blake and Brian.

Sandra Piotrowski, of Tinley Park.

Sandra Piotrowski, of Tinley Park.(Family photo)

Don Piotrowski worked as a meat cutter for Jewel supermarkets. Sandra, who had attended Gage Park High School, worked in the accounting departments of the Joslyn Manufacturing Co. in Chicago and two manufacturing companies in Bedford Park, Ringwood and Weld-Rite Services Inc.

"They both worked hard, kept food on the table," Blake Piotrowski, now director of corporate services for the Chicago-based American Medical Association, recalled Monday. "Me and my brother were able to go to college."

His brother, Brian, is vice president and general manager of Flowchem, LLC, of Waller, Texas, a supplier of oil pipeline operators.

In late February, Sandra Piotrowski, 77, who lived with her husband in southwest suburban Tinley Park, was admitted to Ingalls Memorial Hospital in south suburban Harvey, part of the University of Chicago hospital network.

She had an infection, was dehydrated and her kidneys and liver were failing, Don Piotrowski recalled Monday.

"I visited her every day," he said.

After rehab treatment, Sandra returned home around March 22. But her condition worsened, forcing a return to the hospital, where she died March 28.

The chief cause of death was pneumonia, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office, which also said she suffered from a COVOID-19 viral infection.


Her husband, 77, is now quarantined. He said the family is arranging a memorial service.

"They knew each other a long time. It's really tough on my dad," Blake Piotrowski said.

Blair Kamin

George Parrott Jr., 77, Matteson. Died April 2.

George Parrott Jr. had happily settled into retirement after long careers first as a salesman for Ford and later as the owner for four apartment complexes that he managed.

After selling the property in recent years, he and his wife Jearlene enjoyed their retirement at the Providence Manor subdivision in south suburban Matteson, seeing friends

Two years ago, he hosted a lively 75th birthday party with more than 150 guests.

George Parrott Jr. in an undated photo.

George Parrott Jr. in an undated photo. (Family photo)

"He always trying to throw a party. He was always a fun guy," said his grandson Brennan Parrott, 26. "He always had a good spirit and kept a positive energy around people."

But after undergoing a medical procedure late last month, Parrott's family said he developed a fever that progressed to pneumonia. Both he and his wife went to Advocate South Suburban Hospital where they both tested positive for COVID-19. While Jearlene Parrott's condition improved, her husband's condition worsened.

Parrott died early Friday morning at the Hazel Crest hospital. An autopsy found that Parrott died of bronchopneumonia with COVID-19 infection and diabetes as contributing factors, according to the medical examiner's office.

Parrott's death came as a shock to his family, who said the man remained strong and active and festive following his retirement from managing four real estate properties.

Brennan Parrott said his grandfather doted on him and other family members, an extension of his good nature toward the people in his life.

"He really was a loving caring family man and a hard worker, as well," Parrott said. "He had an entrepreneurial mindset—he thought about different ways to get different challenges done and he was just always just there for everybody when people needed him."

Though his family didn't get a chance to see Parrott in the hospital before he died, Parrott said he was able to say goodbye to his grandfather by cell phone thanks to nurse.

In his final message he told his grandfather "I love you. My dad loves you. My mom loves you. Grandma loves you. Everybody loves you and I know you've got some fight left in you."

In addition to his grandson, Parrott is survived by his son Darrin, and his wife of 52 years. Another son preceded him in death.

WIlliam Lee

Nancy Halbauer, teacher, Orland Park, 62. Died March 31.

Where was Nancy Halbauer happiest?

"I would have said the classroom," said her only sibling, Mark Halbauer, "except that she also loved being on the athletic field, or taking kids on field trips to places like Yosemite. Teaching was her life, and it really was a 24-7 vocation for her."

Nancy Halbauer, of Orland Park, died March 31 due to complications from the COVID-19 virus. She was 62.

Nancy Halbauer, of Orland Park, died March 31, 2020, due to complications from the COVID-19 virus.

Nancy Halbauer, of Orland Park, died March 31, 2020, due to complications from the COVID-19 virus. (Family photo)

Born in 1952 in Evergreen Park, Halbauer did not marry, nor did she have any children. Her professional life, one of service, was dedicated to the teaching of Catholic children. In her personal life, she enjoyed eating out, cheering on the Chicago Cubs, visiting with her plethora of dedicated friends and even saving up and heading to New York for the occasional Broadway show.

Halbauer brought to her vocation, and to her students, a formidable battery of academic qualifications, including an undergraduate degree in kinesiology from the University of Illinois, a graduate degree in education from Stanford University and a second masters in administration from Dominican University. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco, a program that also involved study at Trinity College in Dublin, but, although she considered becoming a lawyer, she ultimately found the pull and rewards of teaching too strong to do anything else.

"You know that Catholic school teachers don't get paid very well?," said her brother. "That was especially true in Nancy's case, because she had a single-minded pursuit. She thrived by educating kids. She made sure they were up to speed on their academics. She always felt the need to engage positively with life."

Although her first job out of college was teaching at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, she later moved to Northern California, teaching at a variety of schools in that state, including the San Domenico School in San Anselmo.

"Nancy loved everything about California," her bother said. "The Golden Gate Bridge. Wine Country. The whole vibe. She was a very free-spirited person."

But also a person with a profound sense of mission. Once her mother's health began to decline, Halbauer returned to the Chicago area to attend to her mom's care, teaching thereafter at Queen Of Peace High School in Burbank, St. Raymond School in Joliet and St. Linus School in Oak Lawn.

"I could not have handled that situation without Nancy," said her brother. Mark and Nancy Halbauer's parents are both now deceased.

Mark Halbauer also said that he had not yet been able to complete Nancy's funeral arrangements, given the quarantine strictures, and that he knew his sister would not want anyone to risk their lives by attending. He hoped, he said, to arrange a memorial service once the current situation has abated.

Nancy Halbauer's Facebook page still contains a profile picture with the backdrop of a stained-glass window. There are two inset images: One of the Cubs winning the World Series and the other of palm trees.

Chris Jones

Mary McKeon, 65, homemaker, died March 26

Mother who was 'terribly forgiving' and 'cool'

Mary McKeon, born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, had a long to-do list she was ready to cross off.

McKeon retired in October, her family said, and had been recovering from knee surgery so she could enter her second act.

Mary McKeon, 65.

Mary McKeon, 65.(Dana Grotta)

"The plan was to be free to pursue these interests of hers," said her son Thomas McKeon, like exploring the outdoors, enjoying art, downsizing her house, volunteering at a pet sanctuary or doting on her family. "She had a million things she wanted to do."

McKeon died March 26 at the University of Chicago Medical Center of complications from the coronavirus. She was 65.

Survivors include her three children, a sister and a brother, and many nieces and nephews. The family hopes to eventually have a memorial Mass.

Born Nov. 17, 1954, Mary Virginia Grotta spent her formative years in the Beverly area as one of three siblings. A devout Catholic, Grotta attended Mother of Sorrows High School and Saint Denis Church.


She married Thomas McKeon in 1983 and was a homemaker raising their three children. McKeon later worked for the Cook County Sheriff's Department, retiring last year.

When McKeon's husband died in 2010, her family took pride in how their mother led them forward and kept on through grief.

"She was able to create a different life for herself after that," McKeon's daughter Mary Rose said. "To move on."

Her family remembers McKeon as "terribly forgiving" with her children, generous, quick-witted and gentle.

"She could tell by the look on your face if something was wrong," Thomas McKeon said.

McKeon appreciated a night in. But she was always willing to go to the movies or the theater. Her last rave was for "Hamilton," but she was also fond of "My Fair Lady." David Bowie or Wilco often accompanied her drives.

"She devoured art," Thomas said. "What was important to her was to see everything."

One friend told the family he would listen to The Beatles to remember McKeon.

Mary Rose McKeon said there was a lyric from "Across the Universe," the Beatles' song, that her mother once said she wanted on her grave: "Limitless, undying love // Which shines around me like a million suns // It calls me on and on across the universe."

"She was pretty cool," Mary Rose said. "She joked she would get a 'Blackstar' tattoo at some point," like the David Bowie album.

McKeon had been to a rehab center and the hospital for surgery. In March, her illness started with a fever. Her condition became progressively worse in a matter of days that felt like weeks, Mary Rose said.

The family was not with McKeon in her final moments, but a priest's willingness to suit up in protective gear and enter McKeon's room comforted the family.

McKeon became the first COVID-19 patient to receive last rites from the Archdiocese of Chicago.

"Pretty amazing," Mary Rose said. "I know that would mean so much to her."

Morgan Greene

Lynne Sierra, 68, cake decorator, died March 27.

Grandmother who was always 'full of ideas'

For Lynne Sierra, a loving grandmother with a knack for baking and crafts, creativity just came natural.

During Easters, Sierra and her grandchildren would make bonnets from paper plates and flowers, and create paper-mache baskets. She carved Jack-o'-lantern style faces into bell peppers and filled them with carrots and broccoli for creative veggie trays. And, from banana bread to cupcakes, she taught relatives and family friends how to bake an assortment of confections.

Lynne Sierra, 68, of Roselle.

Lynne Sierra, 68, of Roselle.(Family photo)

"She always had a very great imagination," Sierra's daughter, Lisa Montgomery said. "She was just always full of ideas."

Sierra, a former cake decorator at Jewel Food Stores and a crafts enthusiast, died March 27 at AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village from respiratory failure after contracting coronavirus and developing pneumonia. She was 68.

Sierra grew up in Niagara Fall, N.Y., with two sisters and a brother. After graduating from LaSalle Senior High School in 1971, she moved to Florida where she worked as one of the first female filling station attendants at a gas station on an Air Force base. That's where she met Richard Sierra, an airman from Chicago who won her heart and whom she married on March 12, 1979.

The couple moved back to Sierra's native Chicago to start a family. They lived in the Ravenswood neighborhood for a time, before settling down in Portage Park on the Northwest Side.

There, Sierra enrolled in a cake decorating program and worked at a Jewel, baking confections for all occasions: birthdays, weddings and holidays. Even many years after she hung up her apron and moved to Roselle, she continued sharing her talents with her family.

For one of her granddaughters who is swimmer, Sierra decorated a cake covered in aqua blue frosting to resemble a pool and topped a string of marshmallows that served as lane lines. She made one of her grandsons a demolition derby-themed cake, topped with toy cars, crumbled Oreo cookies representing dirt and halved doughnuts to demarcate the arena.

In addition to her grandchildren, Sierra also looked after kids for local working mothers. Those children essentially became extended family members, Montgomery said.

Beyond her limitless creativity in the kitchen, Sierra was known for her generosity. On her Facebook page, Sierra shared her responses to mini-questionnaires, including one that asked the first thing she would do if she won the lottery: "Share it with the less fortunate."

"My mom was the most selfless person I know," Montgomery said. "She would give someone the last dollar in her wallet."

In addition to her daughter Lisa and her husband Richard, Sierra is survived by her sisters, DeeAnn Ballard and Lorri Erickson; her son, Eric; and 11 grandchildren.

Funeral services are pending.

— Tony Briscoe

Richard Moenning, Evanston lawyer, 83. Died March 30.

Richard Moenning was a one-man law office for decades, taking every sort of case that came his way.

He worked well past the normal retirement age, and might even have been exposed to COVID-19 during a recent trip to the courthouse, his family believes.

Richard Moenning in 2001.

Richard Moenning in 2001.(Family photo)

Moenning, of Evanston, a devotee of crossword puzzles and World War II history, an Apple technology fan who didn't know how to order an Uber, died Monday from causes related to the virus, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner. He was 83.

Moenning grew up in Indianapolis but came to the Chicago area to attend Northwestern University, his daughter Megan Moenning Landwerlen said. He went to law school there as well, then hung out his shingle in downtown Chicago, doing general practice law and arbitration.

He and his wife, Margot Rathje Moenning, were involved in the March of Dimes and the Young Republican Club, and were active at Moody Church in Lincoln Park. Moenning ran for Cook County Circuit Court judge twice, but was not elected.

Moenning was also involved in the Northwestern University Alumni Association and was a faithful trombone player for the Northwestern University Marching and Band Alumni.

He fell ill toward the end of March and was hospitalized. Moenning Landwerlen and her sister, Renee Moenning, both doctors who practice in Indiana, tried to get him enrolled in a clinical trial for experimental medications, but the hospital staff was resistant, Moenning Landwerlen said.

Moenning's condition worsened over the weekend and he died Monday, his daughter said.

"He just really was proud of us and loved us," she said. "With any father-child relationship, there's always ups and downs, but I will remember all the things I loved about him."


Aside from his wife and two daughters, Moenning is survived by his brothers John and Phil and five grandchildren. A celebration of life is planned for the summer.

- John Keilman

Lucius Hall, Chicago religious leader, 87. Died April 2.

As he marked his 87th birthday on Friday, March 27, Archbishop Lucius Hall had every reason to look back with pride on a colorful life that made him a beloved figure on Chicago's South Side.

He had founded his own church, organized gospel music concerts for the likes of Mahalia Jackson, hosted radio and television broadcasts, and been courted by would-be mayors and governors.

He even had been dubbed the "pistol-packing preacher" when he shot an intruder in his church.

Archbishop Lucius Hall. (Photo by Rev. Roland Chapman, Chief Adjutant)

Archbishop Lucius Hall. (Photo by Rev. Roland Chapman, Chief Adjutant)(Rev. Roland Chapman)

But on March 27, one of Hall's caretakers noticed that the archbishop was breathing irregularly and brought him to Chicago's Mercy Hospital & Medical Center.

Hall, who lived in the Regents Park apartment complex in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, died at the hospital Thursday.

The cause of death was a heart attack, but the medical staff said Hall had COVID-19, according to Rev. Douglas Powell, an assistant pastor at the church.

Years earlier, an amputation had confined Hall to a wheelchair.

"Even in his wheelchair, he never missed a beat," 16th Ward alderman Stephanie Coleman, who grew up in Hall's church, said Friday. "He had an impeccable work ethic."

Born in Chicago in 1933, Hall graduated from DuSable High School, home of the legendary band director Walter Dyett.

Dyett's emphasis on music stuck with him. Later in life, Hall helped organize gospel concerts and festivals even though he was not particularly musical himself.

"He couldn't sing," Powell said. "Mahalia Jackson used to tease him: 'How you get all these people in here and you can't hold a tune?'"

Still in his teens, Hall became the radio announcer for Rev. Clarence Cobbs' First Church of Deliverance at 4315 S. Wabash Ave. The church had begun its own broadcasts in the 1930s, showcasing its 200-member choir to a national audience.

Hall would go on to mix religion and electronic media in many ways, most notably when he hosted the gospel show "Rock of Ages" on WCIU-Channel 26 during the 1960s. He was active in the Broadcast Ministers Alliance of Chicago.

Hall founded the First Church of Love & Faith, located in Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood, in 1980. A 425-car motorcade reportedly marked the church's move to its current home at 2140 W. 79th St.

In 1997, Hall, who had served as an Army police officer, made national news when he shot a burglar in the chest, injuring the intruder. Before the shots were fired, the intruder fell through ceiling panels over the church's dining hall and lunged towards Hall and his assistant, Roland Chapman.

"We're not happy that this happened but we have to protect ourselves and the interests of the church," Chapman told United Press International at the time. "We aren't in the business to hurt people, we're here to help people."

Hall was charged with failing to register the church's handgun with the city, a misdemeanor, but the charges were dropped, Powell said Friday

Hall was among the first of Chicago's African-American religious leaders to support former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Daley later appointed him to Chicago's Human Resources Board, which hears appeals from fired or punished city workers.

"He was a good man, a great friend, and a wonderful supporter," former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. wrote on his Facebook page Thursday, "There is not a single minister on the South Side of Chicago that didn't know Bishop Hall."

Funeral arrangements had not been made Friday, but Coleman said she expects Hall's life will be celebrated in the future.

-Blair Kamin

Marco DiFranco, Chicago police officer, 50. Died April 2.

Marco DiFranco had the gift of gab.

It was a trait that served him well when he went to some of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods to win the trust of bad guys and buy drugs from them.

Little did they know, DiFranco was actually one of the good guys, a veteran Chicago police officer assigned to the department's citywide narcotics unit.

Marco DiFranco, Chicago police officer, 50.

Marco DiFranco, Chicago police officer, 50.(Chicago Police Department)

"He was so witty and able to talk to people on the street. He was never at a loss for words," said Chicago police Cmdr. Matthew Cline, who once supervised DiFranco. "There were times that to move a longer term investigation forward you'd want to generate conversation and if you needed that type of guy, Marco was the guy that we were able to send in that was able to do these more complex investigations because he could engage these people."

A Chicago cop since 1998, the 50-year-old DiFranco lost his life early Thursday morning, his death linked to COVID-19. As of Thursday, he was among 74 Chicago police officers to contract the coronavirus, and was the department's first fatality.

Cline was DiFranco's lieutenant for five years in the narcotics unit. But before that, when Cline was a sergeant in a specialized gang unit, he used to borrow DiFranco for undercover work even though he wasn't assigned there because, Cline said, he was that good.

"We would reach out to Marco to take some of these tougher assignments because he was so quick on his feet," said Cline. "He did an unbelievable, good job of the work he was able to do. Fearless."

For DiFranco, being a cop was in the family. His brother, Sal, also works in the narcotics unit.

But aside from being the police, DiFranco had a great sense of humor, was survived by a wife and two children, and always worked side jobs to support them, said Cline. He recalled DiFranco talking about his son's interests in soccer and martial arts, and his daughter playing the piano.

DiFranco also talked about a time when he put on his best suit to accompany her to a daddy-daughter dance, said Cline.

As friends, Cline and DiFranco played fantasy football together. It was in a league with about 10 cops formed roughly a decade ago.

"It would be one of those things that we'd tease each other about. Who's team was doing better," said Cline. "Marco's team often did much better than mine...I think he won the championship a couple of times, so it was something that we often joked about and it was one of the fun things that we all did together," Cline also said.

As a police officer, DiFranco knew the risks of his job, including the spreading virus. And while it's unclear how DiFranco contracted COVID-19, police leaders said it is certain he made a life out of putting himself in dangerous situations for the greater good.

-Jeremy Gorner


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William Hollaar, 71, of Orland Park. Died March 30.

Bill Hollaar spent most weekdays over the last 65 years attending Elim Christian Services, a south suburban school for the disabled.

His parents, William and Lois, were farmers in North Dakota, but they moved to the Chicago area so their son could begin attending the school in 1955, his sister, Vivian Sytsma, said.

Hollaar, who was developmentally disabled, learned at his own pace there. When he grew older, he worked with the school to do small jobs and went on group outings. The school gave him structure and a place to be social, important for a person who thought everyone was a friend.

"It was pretty much his whole life," Sytsma said. "He really liked it a lot."

Hollaar contracted coronavirus after Elim first reported an employee in the adult services program tested positive for it, his brother Ken Hollaar said.

Lois cared for her son for 71 years and helped him with everyday activities such as dressing. She could tell he didn't feel right one weekend, but the family didn't immediately realize what was wrong. Lois, Ken, brother David and sisters-in-law Heather and Debbie fell ill after that, but they didn't require hospitalization and are recovering, Ken said.

The most difficult part for his family was they couldn't be with Hollaar at the hospital. When he broke his hip several years ago, Lois shadowed him throughout the rehabilitation, but this time he was alone.

"He didn't have a clue what was going on," Ken said. "He was used to his mother being there by his side all the time. … Now, all of the sudden, here he is in a hospital quarantined, and I could just imagine what kind of thoughts must have been going through his mind."

The family was able to talk to him on the phone several times, singing him songs and reciting with him the Bible's Psalm 23, which he had memorized.

"In typical fashion, he had to ask about everybody," Ken said. "How's this person doing? How's that person doing? He wasn't worried about himself. He sure was worried about everybody else."

That was in their brother's nature.

"He was always so compassionate," Sytsma said. "And he would cry with you or laugh with you because he just had a lot of feelings that way."

Hollaar most loved to put together jigsaw puzzles, and if a guest visited for dinner, he expected them to help. He enjoyed music, filling in the letters in crossword puzzles, adding baseball caps to his collection and going to church. He was a part of a mentorship program at Palos Heights Christian Reformed Church called "Friendship Club," in which he was paired with a church member to share in Bible study, crafts, activities, songs and snacks.

His family often went on vacation to reunions in North Dakota, and if the group had a musical event, Hollaar had a favorite request.

"He was all about the Chicken Dance," Ken said. "He would have to lead everybody in it."

Along with his mother and siblings, Hollaar is survived by many nieces and nephews.

-Colleen Kane

Peter Sakas, 67, of Northbrook. Died March 30.

Dr. Peter Sakas ran the Niles Animal Hospital, and saved countless animals and birds in his veterinary medical career. In his Northbrook home, according to Sakas' youngest brother, Jim, you'd typically find "some type of stray animal, some creature in distress."

Sakas' sister-in-law, orthodontist Jackie Rosen, recalled how Sakas consulted with her many years ago on an exotic bird with a broken beak, unable to eat. The pair figured out how to bond orthodontic braces with rubber bands to the outside of the bird's beak.

"Six weeks later, we took the braces off and the bird was healed," she said. "Pete was probably the only one who ever put braces on a bird."

The longtime owner of Niles Animal Hospital and Bird Medical Center died March 30, after a brief stay in Glenbrook Hospital. Sakas was admitted after experiencing flu-like symptoms, his brother Bill Sakas said.

Sakas' daughter, Dr. Courtney Sakas, an emergency room physician at Boston Medical Center, said doctors at Glenbrook Hospital confirmed that her father had tested positive for COVID-19.

After he was admitted to the hospital, doctors placed Sakas, who had lost a kidney to cancer, on dialysis, but he appeared to be improving later in the week, as reports from the hospital had him telling jokes and laughing with his nurses, Bill Sakas said.

"By Saturday or Sunday, things went downhill pretty rapidly," his brother said. Sakas was on a ventilator and in a medically-induced coma before he passed away.

His COVID-19-related death cut short a widely admired career devoted to the care and treatment of animals and birds.

As a teenager Sakas caddied at the Evanston Golf Club, recalled his sister, Connie Markoutsas.

"One day, as he was walking home from there, there was a little bird on the sidewalk. He bent down, picked up the bird and carried it home …. Pete said he wanted to help the bird so badly, and he felt helpless. That's when he decided he wanted to become a vet."

The father of two grown children, Courtney and Christopher, Sakas joined Niles Animal Hospital in 1980 while still a veterinary student. He took over the practice in 1985.

"He was a vet in the same way he was a person: caring and compassionate," said Al Whitman, who attended veterinarian school with Sakas at the University of Illinois. "He was able to do good and he did it effortlessly because that is the person he was."

In the mid-2000s, Sakas formed a partnership with Barrington-based Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, an organization that provides medical care to injured wildlife and releases the animals back into their habitats when they are well again, said founder and director Dawn Keller.

"He saw the cases that were the toughest, that were beyond what we could do without him," Keller said. "We took in a really sick red-tailed, adult male hawk that had a huge mass on his neck. (Sakas) did brilliant surgery to remove the mass. It turned out it was benign, the hawk made a recovery and was released."

Daughter Courtney Sakas said she and her father would joke about her decision to become a physician.

"In a teasing way, I would say, 'There's a real doctor in the family — I take care of people,'" she said. "He had this really characteristic twinkle in his eye and he would smirk and say, 'You're just a specialized veterinarian.'"

Courtney Sakas noted her appreciation for her father because he would gave "patients a voice that didn't have one."

"There's a book called 'All Creatures Great and Small,' and he completely embodied that," she said of the James Herriot novel about a beloved veterinarian.


Son Christopher, who worked alongside his father as a veterinary assistant at Niles Animal Hospital, called Sakas his idol.

"I plan on going to veterinary school," he said. "He was my inspiration, being able to work with him and seeing how he interacted with people and animals and how knowledgeable, passionate and loved he was."

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are no public funeral plans, but his family hopes to honor him in the future.

"No one was with him when he died, and that's the worst part of it," Bill Sakas said. "None of us could see him."

--Jennifer Johnson and Michael Phillips

Crystal Cantrell-Barbee, 63, of Hazel Crest. Died March 30.

Jerry Cantrell had been encouraged to hear that his older sister Crystal's condition had improved last week after she had been hospitalized suffering from shortness of breath.

A diabetic, Crystal Cantrell-Barbee checked herself into Advocate South Suburban Hospital last week and was found to have pneumonia. But her condition had improved after she was put on a ventilator and treated with antibiotics.

"They gave her some antibiotics she was breathing a lot better and she called me on the phone and told me she was feeling better and told me to tell my wife she'd be okay," Cantrell, 62, recalled Thursday. "That was the last time I talked to her."

But he said her condition deteriorated after she was given the drug for treatment and had to be resuscitated three times. She died Monday afternoon at the Hazel Crest hospital.

The Cook County medical examiner's office ruled that Cantrell-Barbee, of Hazel Crest died from the COVID-19 viral infection, along with pneumonia, hypertension, diabetes and asthma.

Cantrell said he had concerns about the drugs administered to her sister. "She was one of the backbones of the family. She's almost irreplaceable and for something like this to happen...this is a travesty."

Cantrell-Barbee worked in the medical field, having been an information and referral specialist for Advocate Health Care for 17 years.

To Cantrell, it made sense that his older sister would get into the medical field.

"She would give you her last," said Cantrell, of Harvey. "She loved her job. She had the best handwriting ever."

The oldest of four children, Cantrell-Barbee's family were among the first black families to move into the racially segregated portion of south suburban Phoenix.

"The Cantrells and the Wilsons were the first families to move there," Cantrell said.

Cantrell-Barbee graduated from Thornridge High School and later South Suburban College, where she earned a medical certification and degrees in business administration and management.

Cantrell-Barbee is survived by her siblings and her son and daughter, who were planning her funeral.

William Lee

Melvin Pumphrey, 80, of Chicago Heights. Died March 29.

Kelli Pumphrey is the assistant principal at the Michelle Obama School of Technology and the Arts, where students who had met her father Melvin, another career educator, would often tell her:

"Miss Pumphrey, I bet you couldn't do anything when you were growing up. I bet you had to stare straight ahead and look him in the eyes."

It wasn't quite that bad, Pumphrey told the Tribune.

"My father was funny but serious. He was kind but stern," she said. "He didn't play. What he gave to me he gave to everyone else. They just didn't get the honor of living with him every day."

Melvin Pumphrey died from COVID-19 complications at St. James Hospital in south suburban Olympia Fields on March 29.

"The doctors and the nurses were completely awesome," Kelli Pumphrey said. "They made my father's last days peaceful. I'm blessed for that."

Pumphrey is survived by his wife Doris and three children — Kelli and brothers Melvin Jr. and Curtis.

Pumphrey worked in the Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District. where he served on the school board and relished his role as a mentor.

"He had high expectations of every student he came into contact with," Kelli said. "His message: Believe in yourself."

-Teddy Greenstein

Sherman Pittman, 61, of Chicago. Died March 27.

Twenty-five years ago, volunteers helped build a two-story brick church in one of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods.

The Rose of Light Baptist Church became a symbol of hope for Englewood.

For Sherman Pittman, it would offer even more.

The Chicago man found the church years ago after a co-worker whose cousin serves as its pastor told him about it. By then, Pittman had kicked a drug habit from his youth and was yearning to give back to his community, especially its younger people and those struggling with addiction.

Sherman Pittman, 61, of Chicago, died Friday, March 27, 2020.

Sherman Pittman, 61, of Chicago, died Friday, March 27, 2020. (Family photo)

He dedicated his life to the church and his Brainerd neighborhood on the Southeast Side.

"If only two people signed up to volunteer, Sherman would be one of the two," the Rev. Jasper Edwards Jr. said. "Everything he did, he put his whole heart into it."

Pittman died late March 27 after being infected with the coronavirus. Authorities listed underlying health conditions, including diabetes, as contributing factors. He had just turned 61 in January.

He grew up on the city's South Side in a large family anchored by two hardworking, church-going parents. His nephew, Sentral Pittman II, said his uncle ended up buying a bungalow directly across the street from his childhood home in Brainerd and became one its most recognizable and beloved residents.

It was there that Pittman often brought his family together through block parties and cookouts.

"You could talk to him about anything," his nephew said. "He was never judgmental."

Sherman Pittman never married or had children. But, Pittman II said, his uncle was the favorite among his nieces and nephews. He treated them as if they were his own and the family's younger generation looked up to him.

When asked who his uncle looked up to, his nephew answered, "God." When asked what he most valued in life, his nephew replied "his family."

He remembered Pittman's constant smile, upbeat personality and impeccable style. Another nephew in a Facebook tribute called Pittman "unbreakable."

Sherman Pittman met longtime friend Vanessa Edwards while the two were union employees at Chicago-based Tootsie Roll Industries. Edwards said she often spoke about her church, where her cousin was the pastor. She said Pittman decided to check it out.

"To know him was to love him," she said. "He had a helping heart and very generous spirit."

The Rev. Edwards Jr. said Pittman was the rock of the church. An online tribute to Pittman includes photos of him surrounded by kids in the Rose of Light's summer camp program, holiday parties and other church events. But his true calling, the pastor said, was mentoring recovering addicts.


"He drew from his own personal experience," Edwards Jr. said. "He would tell them, 'Don't let this determine the course of your life. Set your own future. You can overcome this,' and then he would tell them his story."

Edwards Jr. said he spoke to Pittman by phone after he was admitted to the hospital days before his death.

"Sherman was a guy who didn't really show fear," his pastor said.

For the first time, Pittman – the man who had given so much of himself to his church – asked his pastor for something in return.

"Just, please, tell the church to pray for me," Edwards Jr. said Pittman had asked. "The next call I got, he was gone."

-Christy Gutowski

Alberto Castro, 86, died March 30.

Family man who loved work and music

Alberto Castro was chasing the American dream, his family said, and across almost nine decades, he succeeded.

Castro, who left Mexico and eventually ended up in Melrose Park, died March 30 of complications from the coronavirus. He leaves behind a large family and more than a dozen grandchildren. He was 86.

Castro only went to school through the second grade, his daughter Claudia Castro said, but he worked his way up, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen. In Melrose Park, he worked at Zenith and he later started his own landscaping business.

His family said he loved to work. But he made time to create and listen to music. With his children, he was personable and protective, his family said.

He was also proud.

Claudia said she once told her dad she wanted to be a nurse. He said, "Why not a doctor?"

"He was all about education," said Claudia, who became an attorney.

"He would always tell people, 'Oh, my daughter, the attorney,'" she said.

"He was a good man," said his son, Jose Alberto, who worked for years as his father's caretaker.

Castro, who had dementia, was at Aperion Care in Forest Park when he developed the infection, family members said.

He was admitted to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital for pneumonia, his family said, and they learned he tested positive for COVID-19.

"I think we were all just in shock, because it happened so fast," Claudia said. "We thought of our dad being a strong type of man, who has overcome many types of obstacles."

Over the weekend, it appeared that her father was improving, Claudia said.

"We had hope," she said. "We were given hope."

But Jose Alberto suited up in protective gear this week for a few-minute goodbye.

"I don't know if he heard me when I was trying to talk to him," he said.

The family hopes to have a memorial this summer.

"We didn't feel that this was our dad's time," Claudia Castro said.

— Morgan Greene

Angel Escamilla, 67, Naperville assistant pastor. Died March 29.

Assistant pastor was a "spiritual giant"

An assistant pastor of Calvary Español in Naperville, Angel Escamilla spent more than 40 years working in ministry, serving as a pastor, missionary, and teacher, and his passion for the church deeply influenced those around him, his family said.

Escamilla died March 29, a week after it was confirmed he contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized with pneumonia. He was 67.

Calvary Church Naperville's Pastor Angel Escamilla.

Calvary Church Naperville's Pastor Angel Escamilla.(Alberto Arteaga)

Escamilla worked with Calvary Church Naperville's Calvary Español, whose mission is "helping the Hispanic community connect faith with life to establish or improve their relationship with Christ."

Calvary Church's Lead Pastor Marty Sloan said Escamilla was "a man of strong faith in the Lord."

"If anyone ever spoke into the heavens in prayer, it was Pastor Angel. He will be forever missed on our team and in the church family," Sloan said.

In his biography on Calvary Church's website, Escamilla described the dedication he had for his work and family. "I am passionate about living life without regret or fear, fulfilling God's desire for my life and seeing all of my grandchildren in ministry," Escamilla wrote.

Escamilla's son, Michael Escamilla also works at Calvary Church Naperville serving as a pastor of small groups and discipleship, a testament to the legacy the elder Escamilla leaves behind.

Michael Escamilla said his dad was a "spiritual giant" whose imprint has affected many and will long outlast his time on earth.

"Just a few days ago, one of his grandkids said to Papi: 'You gave us a legacy and life to strive to be like,'" Michael Escamilla wrote in a message from the church. "Our family will be shaped and blessed because of the legacy of our dad. Future generations will love, bless others, minister and lead their families well because dad started a new legacy for the Escamillas."

In addition to Michael, Escamilla had another son and 10 grandchildren, according to Calvary Church. Escamilla's wife, Becky, to whom he was married for more than 40 years, thanked church members for their support and prayers.

"We cry, but we are not hopeless," Becky Escamilla said. "The impression of his life has affected many. It's impossible to count the lives he impacted. He will live in our hearts forever.

-Erin Hegarty

Joseph Graham, 67, of Chicago. Died March 24.

Joseph Graham, who went by the nickname "Joe Moe," grew up in a rough South Side neighborhood and was a well-known figure on the streets before kicking a drug habit and becoming a source of strength for others traveling the same path, those who knew him recalled.

Graham, a school custodian, steppin' aficionado and longtime resident of Chicago's South Shore neighborhood, died March 24 after contracting COVID-19. He was 67.

Joseph Graham, 67, of Chicago.

Joseph Graham, 67, of Chicago.(Family photo)

He grew up in the Woodlawn neighborhood, according to his longtime friend Michael Parker. It was a tough childhood, Parker said, with inadequate schools and no father figure to rely on, but Graham's friendship was constant.

"(He) cared about other people," Parker said. "His whole life was based on the uplifting of people who were less fortunate than himself."

Graham developed a drug addiction that lasted deep into his adulthood, but in 1995, he entered treatment at New Beginnings, a South Side recovery program. CEO Otis Williams said Graham's success in achieving sobriety served as an example to others who knew him from the street.

"He was a symbol of hope for a lot of guys who couldn't quit," Williams said. "He showed that it could be done, that you could lead a productive life, have a family and be respected."

Alaina Graham, his wife of 12 years, said he was a custodian for a firm that worked in Chicago Public Schools. He was also a devoted stepper, whose smooth turns on the dance floor are captured on a YouTube video (he's the tall guy with the white hat).

"Joe Moe was a very debonair stepper with a classic smooth style which he frequently displayed with whoever he partnered with on the dance floor," said Iary Isaiah Israel of Word Of Mouth Entertainment, which in 2016 honored Graham for being part of the steppin' scene for 30 years. "He had a flair for being dressed sharp — what we call 'suited and booted' — which stood out from the crowd."


Parker said Graham made "thousands of friends" throughout his life. Alaina Graham said his magnetic personality prompted people to remember him fondly.

"If you met him, you would love him," she said. "He never met a stranger. He had a smile that would light up the whole place. Wherever he went, North Side, West Side, South Side, people knew him."

Aside from his wife, Graham is survived their daughter, Joniece Graham. A memorial is tentatively scheduled for June.

- John Keilman

Carole Brookins, 76, of Palm Beach, Fla. Died March 23.

Carole Brookins, who started her career as one of the rare women to work in Chicago's financial sector and went on to become a top World Bank official, died in Palm Beach, Fla., last week from complications related to coronavirus. She was 76.

Brookins was born in Gary, Ind., and attended the University of Oklahoma, where she majored in history. After graduating with honors in 1965, she came to Chicago and became a trainee underwriter of municipal bonds at A.G. Becker & Co. — earning less than half the salary of a male trainee.

Carole Brookins, 76

Carole Brookins, 76(American Financial Exchange)

She soon became a market reporter at the Chicago Board of Trade, and later left for New York to work for the E.F. Hutton brokerage firm. In 1980, she founded World Perspectives, a Washington, D.C.-based agricultural market analysis and consulting firm.

In 2001, she became the U.S. executive director of the World Bank, where she continued her focus on agriculture. She believed the private sector played a key role in fighting world hunger, a philosophy she explained in a 2002 speech to trade groups:

"Governments are like coaches," she said. "They have the playbooks and they talk a good game, but it's the business community that puts the players on the field and makes things happen and delivers the goods."

After resigning from the World Bank in 2005, she became a managing director at Public Capital Advisors, which helps governments access funding for infrastructure projects. A Francophile, she founded The First Alliance Foundation in 2018; it's a non-profit meant to strengthen strategic bonds between France and the U.S.

Brookins' longtime friend Richard Sandor, founder of the Chicago-based American Financial Exchange, where Brookins served as a board member, said her personality played a large role in her success.

"She would never have risen to the heights she did if she didn't have that combination of intellect and a sensitivity to human beings," he said in an interview. "She had a rare combination of being very smart and being a people person."

Brookins is survived by "many close friends and godchildren around the world," the exchange said in a statement. A celebration of her life will follow.

- John Keilman

Feliks Ogorodnik, 88, and Luiza Ogorodnik, 84. Died March 28.

A Skokie couple who emigrated from Ukraine to begin a new life together in America has died, just hours apart, both infected by the coronavirus.

Feliks Ogorodnik, 88, and his wife, Luiza, 84, died Saturday at Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview.

They are the first married couple in Illinois whom authorities publicly identified to have died during the pandemic from causes related to the disease.

Feliks, 88, and Luiza, 84, Ogorodnik

Feliks, 88, and Luiza, 84, Ogorodnik(Family photo)

Relatives said the couple came to the United States from Ukraine more than 20 years ago after they retired.

Both became citizens and worked hard to learn English and experience the traditions and culture of their new home, the family said.

"They were a beautiful couple," their son-in-law, Ed Greenwald, said Monday. "Very loving and wonderful grandparents and very integral to our family."

He said the family is not certain how the couple became infected.

The couple has two daughters, Irina Greenwald and Janina Schnaper, four grandchildren and other extended relatives. They worshipped at Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston, where Irina Greenwald's family members are congregants.

"They were very loving and kind," said Rabbi Andrea London, who recalled seeing the elderly couple in mid-February at a grandson's bar mitzvah. "They were so proud. (They) still struggled with English but (the grandmother) got up and spoke. They were very intelligent people."

Relatives said Luiza Ogorodnik worked as a physician in Ukraine. She had a lifelong passion for learning and enjoyed reading and the theater. In an online obituary, her family described her as a "very energetic woman, full of optimism and life."

The tribute continued, "She loved people and always sought to help those around her."

Her husband, Feliks Ogorodnik, was a construction company supply manager in Ukraine. His family was everything to him, relatives said. He also loved gardening, often sharing his harvest with family and neighbors.

Feliks Ogorodnik died minutes before 5 p.m. Saturday, about 4 ½ hours after his wife and in the same hospital, medical examiner's officials said. Both had underlying health problems that contributed to their deaths.

The family planned a private funeral Tuesday. A larger memorial service will be held at a later date.

David Jacobson, founder of Chicago Jewish Funerals, which is handling the couple's service, said virtual shiva, livestreamed funerals, recordings and other special accommodations are being offered during the pandemic to restrict attendance and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

"Here's what we're learning: People need community more than ever," he said. "This is really showing us how much people need each other."

The family's rabbi said a virtual shiva would be held, as well. Despite his family's heartbreak, Greenwald said they know they are not alone in their grief.

"It's a difficult time for our family and all of Chicago and the world," he said. "We're going through extraordinary times."


Christy Gutowski

Charley Hill, 78, of Homewood. Died March 25.

As daughter Monica Plaid remembered him two days after he died of pneumonia due to COVID-19, Charley Hill was a dedicated church trustee who "always had the key to the building, always checked in on things."

A retired Cook County sheriff's police department detective and negotiator, and a veteran of both the Army and Marine Corps, Hill attended South Suburban Church of God in Homewood. He and his second wife, Marie Gault, moved to a Homewood retirement community last year.

During his first marriage, to Eloise Hill, now a Bridgeton, Missouri., resident, Hill and his family bought a house in Harvey in 1975. Plaid was 4 at the time.

"We were the first African American family on the block," she told the Tribune. "We had some really great neighbors. I remember all of it. I look back at my parents and see how much they sacrificed, and what they did to try to make our lives better than theirs. That's what I see in my father. He was a generous person. A giving person."

Hill joined the Army at age 18. Four years later he joined his brother in the Marines and served in the Vietnam War, and later enlisted in the Army Reserve. Plaid remembers her father attending community college shortly after the family moved to Harvey. He'd study at the kitchen table, Plaid recalled.

"These are the sacrifices some people make," she said. "Some people don't take care of their responsibilities. He wasn't perfect but he forged his own path for his family and did the best that he could. I feel very grateful for him, and thankful."

On March 19, Hill was taken by ambulance to Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest.

"It was like he'd had a stroke," Plaid said. "He didn't know his name, didn't know where he was, wasn't able to move, to use his lower body." A few days after Hill's transfer to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, he was on a ventilator and sleeping much of the time.

Charley Hill, 78, of Homewood.

Charley Hill, 78, of Homewood.(Family photo)

Plaid said her father finally received a coronavirus test March 23. The results came back positive March 24. He died March 25.

"It hurts so badly," she said. "We weren't allowed to see him. I've done a lot of crying about that. I leaned on God and asked him to cover him and be with him, because we couldn't."

A few days before he died, a nurse at Christ Medical Center managed to arrange a telephone call with Plaid, placing a receiver up to Hill's ear. "I was able to tell him I loved him," she recalled through tears. "It was all of 30 seconds. But those 30 seconds meant a lot to me." She added, quietly: "God bless the nurse who did that."

The Cook County medical examiner's office listed hypertension and atrial fibrillation as contributing factors to Hill's death. In addition to Plaid, survivors include his wife, Marie Gault Hill and a son, Sean Hill.

Hill was also stepfather to four adult children by his second marriage and grandfather to a total of eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His burial will be at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.

Memorial services are pending.

Michael Phillips

Peggy Rakestraw, 72, of Matteson. Died March 25.

Peggy Rakestraw had high standards for her two daughters.

Her youngest, Jennifer, said her mother was strict but loving. She often reminded her daughters to make sure they saved their money "for a rainy day" and to be independent.

"She was protective and wanted the best for us," her daughter said. "When she said something, she meant it and everyone knew it."

The 72-year-old Matteson woman died March 25 in a south suburban hospital. Though she long had been in failing health due to end-stage kidney disease that required dialysis three times a week, her daughter said the family is stunned by her sudden death and left with unanswered questions.

Peggy Rakestraw, 72, of Matteson.

Peggy Rakestraw, 72, of Matteson.(Family photo)

It wasn't until days later that they learned the cause: pneumonia due to a COVID-19 infection. Her various preexisting health conditions were listed as contributing factors.

Jennifer Rakestraw said her family does not know how her mother became infected. She lived in a nursing home, and the last in-person contact her family had with her there was March 12 because the facility soon stopped allowing visitors due to the pandemic.

She said her mother had moved into Generations at Applewood nursing and rehabilitation center about six months earlier due to her fragile health. She was admitted to the hospital two days before her death due to "confusion" and other symptoms not typically associated with the coronavirus, her daughter said.

The family was allowed to see her only briefly that first day at the hospital.

"On top of everything else, it's devastating we couldn't be there (when she died)," Jennifer Rakestraw said.

On Friday, a spokesman for the Matteson facility acknowledged a resident had died after a two-day hospital stay. He said administrators had not been notified of the cause of the resident's death. He said the facility did not have any confirmed COVID-19 cases among staff or residents as of Friday.

In a statement, facility administrators listed several safety measures. They said staff and visitors were pre-screened as of March 6. Access has been limited to "essential health care workers" since March 13. The facility "is adequately stocked with personal protective equipment and all employees who work in the home adhere to the highest standards of infection control protocol and use personal protective equipment," the statement read.

Peggy Rakestraw grew up on the city's South Side and surrounding suburbs. She and her husband, Bobby, were married nearly 50 years, their daughter said.

Before retirement, she was a unit clerk at the former Oak Forest Hospital for about three decades.

Jennifer Rakestraw said her mother had a good sense of humor and loved reading, especially mystery novels. She enjoyed board games, charades and watching her grandchildren play video games.

She was a great cook. Her mother had a "special secret recipe" for everything, her daughter said. Her specialties included lasagna, cornbread stuffing, enchiladas, and lemon meringue pie, to name a few.

As her health declined, Jennifer Rakestraw said, her mother remained mentally sharp and once was quick to remind her daughters that she still was the boss.

"She once told me, when she was sick and I guess I tried to make a decision for her, 'I have a voice,' " her daughter recalled. "I said, 'Yes, Mom, you do.' "

"She was a beautiful lady," she continued, through tears. "She was loved."

The family will hold a memorial at a later date.


— Christy Gutowski

Alvin Elton, 56, of Chicago. Died March 22.

Alvin Elton died March 22, nine days after his 56th birthday.

The Chicago man thought he had the flu. He was exhausted. His body ached.

"I don't feel bad," his wife recalled him telling her days earlier. "I'm just so tired and have no appetite."

But, after a March 20 chest X-ray at an urgent care clinic revealed pneumonia, Elton was immediately placed on oxygen and hospitalized.

Alvin C. Elton, 56, of Chicago.

Alvin C. Elton, 56, of Chicago.(Gretchen Meyer)

"Forty-eight hours later, he was gone," his wife, Gretchen Meyer, told the Tribune.

Authorities determined Elton died of pneumonia due to a COVID-19 infection. He had preexisting health conditions, including diabetes, which were listed as contributing factors.

Family and friends described his larger-than-life personality and passion for competitive sports, both as a participant and a spectator. He was a popular competitive darts player on the city's Northwest Side who also loved attending concerts, outdoor festivals, skiing and travel.

A close friend, Peter Citera, remembered Elton for his "his easy smile, infectious laughter and unparalleled love of life."

"The two things that made Alvin happiest were sports and having a cold beer with good friends," Citera said in an online tribute. "If the two could be combined — as they often were — well, that was absolutely ideal."

Many called Elton by his initials, "ACE."

He graduated Evanston Township High School, later following in his father's footsteps while pursuing a career as a pipefitter, his wife said.

She said they met nearly 20 years ago while on opposing teams during a Thursday night Windy City Darters league match at a Rogers Park bar. She isn't positive whose team won, but she remembers the email he sent her that next morning and their first date a day later to a Cubs game.

She said Elton was especially proud of his Native American heritage.

His parents, both deceased, grew up on reservations in different Sioux tribes in South Dakota. He spent summers there when he was younger and continued to study and pay tribute to his roots throughout his life.

His father, Arthur, was a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. His mom, Adeline, or Addie, was part of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

They met in Chicago in the early 1960s while both were taking part in a federal job training program, his wife said.

She described her husband as loving and warm, the kind of guy who easily made and kept friendships.

"He just had the most optimistic outlook," Meyer said. "Fun just seemed to find him. There was never a dull moment when he was around."

Meyer said she thought her husband's condition had stabilized March 21, the day after he was hospitalized. But, on Sunday, he still was unconscious and on a ventilator. He died that night.

Wearing protective gear, she was able to be at his side even though the hospital had restricted most visitors.

In the days that have followed, Meyer described a maze of bureaucracy, misinformation, and confusion among various authorities as she sought word about the cause of her husband's death and when his body could be released to a funeral home.

Meyer also said she has not received guidance about whether she should be quarantined. She has voluntarily chosen to do so, she said.

"It was very frustrating and something that needs to improve for other families," she said. "I wouldn't want anyone else in this situation to have to go through this."

Besides his wife, Elton is survived by a sister, Anne Gavin, three nieces and a nephew. His wife said a celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

— Christy Gutowski

Patricia Ciametti, 72, dog grooming business owner, Burbank. Died March 25.

Patricia Ciametti's pet grooming business in Palos Hills was known as a place where even incorrigible animals could come for a beauty treatment. It didn't matter how rambunctious they had been at other shops — Ciametti soothed them like a born dog whisperer.

"There were dogs nobody could get near, she'd start working with them and all of a sudden they were happy and calm," recalled her friend Denise Urquijo. "She had this magical way of taking care of dogs and cats. She was just amazing."

Ciametti, of Burbank, died early March 25 at Advocate Christ Medical Center of coronavirus-related causes, according to her family. She was 72.

Patricia Ciametti and her German Shepherd Sarg.

Patricia Ciametti and her German Shepherd Sarg.(Family photo)

Her daughter Mary Jones said after Ciametti fell ill, she was told by a doctor and a staffer at the state's COVID-19 hotline that her symptoms didn't sound like coronavirus. She didn't receive a test until after she went to the hospital in respiratory distress, dying a few hours later, Jones said.

"I'm very upset," Jones said. "If she had gotten tested in time, they might have been able to save her."

Jones remembered her mother as an animal fanatic who invested her passion into her grooming business, Sit 'n' Pretty. That's where she met Urquijo, who has her own business making dog biscuits. The two became fast friends, forming a sister-like bond.

"Pat was a very kind and loving person," Urquijo said. "She treated everyone with respect. You couldn't help but like her. When you met her, it was like knowing her forever."

Her co-worker Char Oliver remembered Ciametti as a hard worker who put her family first, and as someone whose skills elicited deep loyalty in her clients.

"She would have people come in from other establishments that couldn't (handle) their dogs," she said. "A lot of these dogs had problems, but she got them done. For that her clients were absolutely grateful."

Her cousin Kathy Soria, who grew up with Ciametti in Chicago, recalled taking camping trips to Lake Will in Wilmington, Illinois, where they would putter around on a pontoon boat.

"She's just a wonderful, great person and friend," she said. "I spoke with her every day. This is a big void in my life."

Aside from Jones, Ciametti is survived by her son Michael and daughter, Vanessa; and grandchildren Cheyenne, Christopher, Steven and Paulie.

— John Keilman

John "Curt" Johnson, 93, professor emeritus, Evanston. Died March 22.

Educator, poet, 'character'

In his 93 years, John "Curt" Johnson was fueled by a passion for reading, teaching and an overall curiosity about life.

He was an emeritus professor of English and former associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

John "Curt" Johnson, 93, shown in December 2019.

John "Curt" Johnson, 93, shown in December 2019.(Family photo)

"He really loved teaching," Carol Johnson said of her father. "The job was constant, and he was very dedicated."

Long retired, Johnson died March 22 as a result of pneumonia due to a COVID-19 infection with coronary artery disease and chronic pulmonary disease as contributing factors.


He was a resident of the Three Crowns Park senior living community in Evanston, where he and his wife, Joan, had moved about a dozen years earlier after downsizing from their longtime home in Wilmette.

The couple was married nearly 60 years before her death in 2012.

The son of a Swedish immigrant who painted houses to support his family, Johnson grew up in Chicago and was inspired at a young age by the written word. He and his wife met at Northwestern University, where they were graduate students studying English and shared an appreciation for the arts.

Johnson, who went by the nickname "Curt," from his middle name, loved the classical music of Mozart and Vivaldi, and the works of Victorian poets, especially Matthew Arnold.

The couple's home was filled with books, music and flowers. Meals were served on a formally set table, and conversations were intellectual and passionate.

"They were very lovely," said a niece, Jenifer Nollin. "I remember as a kid, I thought they both were so poised. I admired him so."

Johnson wrote poetry throughout his life. His diverse hobbies included photography, politics, travel and gardening, especially tending to his beloved orchids.

His niece said he was tough, a stickler for proper vocabulary and grammar, but he also was "a real character" who was witty, generous and genuine. He once owned a parrot named Perry and had a unique, special talent of wiggling his ears without using his hands.

She recalled a conversation they once had about religion. Nollin said her uncle's faith was tested with the loss of his only sibling — her mother — from cancer at an early age.

"I remember he said that he still believed in the power of love," she said.

His daughter, Carol, recalled her father's wisdom. There is a solution to every problem, he reminded her.

He retired from the university after a more than 30-year career in 1984 after suffering a heart attack. The John Curtis Johnson award with $500 is still given out each spring to an outstanding first-year student in UIC's honors college.

Later, as her parents aged, they decided to move into an apartment in the retirement community. Johnson said they loved it there, and her father downsized again into an assisted-living wing as his health and mobility declined.

Carol Johnson said it was a Three Crowns Park nurse who called her March 15 to tell her they had rushed her father, who had a fever and racing heart rate, to the hospital.

"I don't really need to be here," Johnson said her father told her when she arrived in the ER to be by his side. "They don't need to make a fuss."

He died a week later. Johnson is now quarantined until the end of the month, but she has not exhibited symptoms, she said.

She does not know how her father became infected. A few other Three Crowns Park residents also have tested positive, facility officials said.

Carol Johnson said she is thankful to the staff for the care they long gave her father.

Besides a daughter, Curt Johnson is survived by his son, Richard, who lives out of state.

Their cousin, Jenifer Nollin, said she hopes their family's loss amid a time of widespread fear will remind others what is important in life.

"Be kind to one another," she said. "Don't miss the opportunity to tell people you care about them."

Christy Gutowski

Patricia Frieson, 61, retired nurse, Chicago. Died March 16.

'One of the sweetest people you ever want to meet'

Less than three weeks before she became the first person in Illinois to die from the new coronavirus, retired nurse Patricia Frieson posted a prophetic message on social media indicating she knew how unrelenting the disease could be, especially for those like her who suffered from respiratory illness.

"Take care everyone," she said in a Feb. 28 message on Facebook, "(and) may the world recover from coronavirus soon."

Patricia Frieson.

Patricia Frieson.(Family photo)

Frieson, 61, one of nine children in a tight-knit family, later tested positive for COVID-19 and died March 16 at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

A longtime resident of the city's Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the South Side, Frieson is remembered for her soulful, powerful voice and deep faith. She often sang with her sisters at Progressive Beulah Pentecostal Church near her home.

She loved doting on her many nieces and nephews, and was "one of the sweetest people you ever want to meet," said a younger brother, Richard Frieson, of Minneapolis.

Frieson, who had a history of health problems including respiratory issues, pneumonia and lymphedema, wasn't too concerned when she first checked into the hospital, her brother said. But her condition quickly worsened.

He described the added pain for the family of not being able to comfort his sister, who was in isolation and on a ventilator in her final moments.

Two days earlier, while in the hospital, Frieson posted another message on her social media page.

It read: "Until the good Lord calls Me away from this world to the next, I want to make it clear that I believe in Jesus Christ as the True Lord and Savior. Despite the fact that I am human, and I fail a lot of times, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who was sacrificed on the cross, and died for our sins. He loves us all dearly (far more than we deserve) and forgives our sins if we are in repentance. His Word says 'who so ever believeth in Me, will be granted eternal life.' "

Christy Gutowski and Elyssa Cherney

Wanda Bailey, 63, retired nurse, Crete. Died March 25.

Nine days after a retired nurse from Chicago's South Side became the first person in Illinois to die from a COVID-19 infection, another member of her family also succumbed to the deadly disease.

Wanda Bailey, 63, of Crete, died early March 25 at a hospital in south suburban Olympia Fields.

Wanda Bailey, 63, of Crete.

Wanda Bailey, 63, of Crete.(Family photo)

Authorities said Bailey died of pneumonia due to a COVID-19 infection with high blood pressure, heart and lung disease listed as contributing factors.

Bailey, one of nine siblings in a tight-knit family, is an older sister of Patricia Frieson, relatives said. A Waukegan funeral home confirmed it is handling arrangements for both sisters.

A brother, Richard Frieson, from Minneapolis, said Bailey checked into the emergency room on the night of their sister's death because she, too, was experiencing breathing problems.

He said the family tried to remain hopeful that Bailey might pull through because she was in better overall health than the sibling who had died.

The brother said it is unclear how his sisters became infected. Patricia Frieson didn't get out much because of her health problems, he said. She had attended a funeral weeks before her death. The siblings also often attended church services together.


Relatives are now mourning back-to-back losses while in isolation.

"We hoped for the best, but it just didn't happen," Richard Frieson said.

— Christy Gutowski and Madeline Buckley

John LaPlante, 80, retired traffic engineer, Chicago. Died March 21.

'He was very much an innovator'

Chicago native John LaPlante took great pride in working for the city. That didn't change even after his boss, Mayor Richard M. Daley, blamed him for the catastrophic 1992 subterranean flood in the Loop — a rebuke some quickly concluded was unfair.

But he didn't raise a fuss. He resigned at Daley's demand and moved into the private sector as a traffic engineer. Within a year, the city brought him back as a consultant for municipal projects.

John LaPlante.

John LaPlante.(Family photo)

"He took (the criticism) magnanimously, I think, and realized that's just the way it works," said his friend and colleague Tom Kaeser. "I think the mayor recognized that John was a good engineer. He was held in high regard."

LaPlante died March 21 at Evanston Hospital from what his family said were coronavirus-related causes. His daughter, Leslie LaPlante, said it appears he contracted the virus on a recent trip to Egypt. He fell ill upon his return and tested positive March 10, two days after he entered the hospital.

His wife, Linda, who accompanied him on the trip, did not contract the virus, Leslie LaPlante said. Wearing protective gear, Linda and Leslie LaPlante were both with him when he died.

Leslie LaPlante said her father, who retired in 2012, was an enthusiastic world traveler who was devoted to his family, his church and his profession. After leaving his city job, he continued his work with T.Y. Lin International Group, consulting on projects all over the world.

Heather Gaffney, a retired civil engineer who worked with LaPlante at T.Y. Lin, said he was a mentor to many in the profession and far ahead of the curve when it came to considering the transportation needs of cyclists, buses, pedestrians and the disabled.

"He was very much an innovator," she said.

Leslie LaPlante said the family plans a service "once we know what (circumstances) will allow." In the meantime, they're taking comfort in how LaPlante is being remembered — and how he is now serving as a reminder to treat the pandemic with the utmost seriousness.

"We've seen that for some people, it has driven it close to home," she said. "I guess that does make a difference."

John Keilman

Michael Mika, 73, Chicago. Died March 19.

A lost patriarch

He was their hero, mentor and a dad who never let them down.

A Vietnam veteran, Michael Mika of Chicago died March 19, five days after he had been admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The 73-year-old Northwest Side man died of pneumonia due to COVID-19, officials said. Contributing factors included heart disease and diabetes.

Married for 51 years, he is survived by his wife, Josephine, three adult sons and grandchildren.

Though too distraught to talk publicly about their loss, a daughter-in-law took to Facebook to urge others to heed public health safety protocols. The family granted the Tribune's request to publish her words, which garnered more than 400 shares, likes and comments offering sympathy and prayers.

"As people of all ages are complaining about the inconveniences they are facing due to shutdowns and (stay-in-place) orders, let me help you grasp the magnitude of the situation," Kelly Mika wrote March 21.

Kelly Mika described the family's heartbreak of not being able to be with their quarantined patriarch in the hospital, impatiently waiting for updates from his medical team.

"In the end, he was alone," she wrote.

In their grief, she continued, relatives are "unable to comfort each other through hugs and family contact due to the quarantine period," and so, "we are forced to communicate through phone calls and text messages."

Under normal circumstances, the Catholic family would be planning visitation services and a funeral Mass. But, Kelly Mika said, they have learned "funeral homes are extremely limited on visitation services and churches are closed," so their grieving process will be extended until a later service can be held to "honor our Vietnam Vet the way he deserves to be honored."

She concluded, "So if your daily routine is inconvenienced, I ask you to think of those, like my family, who are dealing with an unprecedented situation. We are forced to accept it and move on the best that we can."

"I do not write this for sentiments of sorrow or pity. I simply am asking for everyone to take this seriously. My family is living the nightmare that has now become our reality. We continue to follow and respect the quarantine procedures because we are responsible citizens. Many other families have already and may sadly follow in our situation, COVID -19 related or not. However, the closures will continue to impact families just like ours."

Christy Gutowski

Luis Juarez, 54, transportation company employee, Romeoville. Died March 18.

A final family gathering

Luis Juarez died March 18 after being hospitalized for what he thought was pneumonia, according to one of his sons, who asked that his name not be used to protect the family now in quarantine.

The Romeoville resident worked for a transportation company and traveled often in the United States and Mexico. He returned from his final Mexico trip Feb. 28. According to his son, one of three in the family, Juarez attended a quinceanera celebration in Elgin the following day. He had no symptoms at the time.

Over the next several days, what appeared to be a common cold turned worse. On March 12, Juarez was hospitalized, according to the son, and prescribed antibiotics for what doctors diagnosed as pneumonia. By March 15, Juarez's condition had turned critical.

"We didn't know he had been tested," the son said of his father testing positive for the coronavirus.

Even with the onset of COVID-19 fatalities nationwide, the son said, the Juarez family — like millions across the world — disregarded the pandemic's spread at first.

"Most times, we tend to stay quiet and go along with the jokes and the memes," the son said. "That ignorance and silence is killing many. My dad was one of them."

Travel bans are interfering with the family's wishes to bury Juarez in his native Mexico.

"That was his dream," the son said.


Laura Rodriguez and Michael Phillips

Carl Redd, 62, Chicago. Died March 21.

Doting grandfather

When he was in good health, Carl Redd often rose early to drive his oldest daughter to work and drop off his 9-year-old grandson at school.

Redd, 62, insisted on squeezing in every moment he could with this only grandchild, Dylan, whom he adored.

Carl Redd.

Carl Redd.(Delliah Redd)

A lifelong Chicagoan who relatives say was the king of the backyard barbecue, good-natured and funny, died late March 21 at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

He died of respiratory failure due to non-traumatic brain injury, authorities said. A COVID-19 infection, chronic pulmonary disease and other preexisting health conditions were contributing factors.

His firstborn daughter, Delliah Redd, said her father never fully recovered from a severe asthma attack he suffered in their Auburn Gresham home in late October. He collapsed "in my arms," she said, but paramedics worked to resuscitate and stabilize him. He was treated at various hospitals.

Redd said her father finally returned home last month for a short time but was hospitalized again after getting a fever.

"We kind of figured it was getting close to the end," she said.

Still, relatives say they are stunned and still in disbelief that he may have been infected with the new coronavirus while hospitalized.

Delliah Redd said her father previously tested negative after arriving at the VA hospital mid-February. A hospital spokeswoman did not immediately respond to the Tribune's request for comment

His daughter said the family last saw him March 17 because the hospital began restricting visitors due to safety precautions. His wife, Lillian, donning a gown, face mask and gloves, was able to be at his side, spoon-feeding pureed food to her husband of 35 years.

Their daughter, watching from the hospital room doorway, witnessed the final moments of a man and woman who met decades earlier as employees of the long-closed Spiegel store in the city.

He could barely speak, Delliah Redd said.

"I asked him, 'Do you know who I am?' " she said. "He said, 'my oldest.' When I asked him if he was OK, he just nodded his head yes."

She said his heart stopped March 21 while his doctor was in the room, giving his wife an update on the phone about his condition.

Redd, a retired HVAC repairman, enlisted in the Army in 1978 and served about six years before being honorably discharged, according to his military records. He was raised in a Christian family on the city's West Side. He loved rock 'n' roll music and comedian Richard Pryor.

"His most outstanding feature was his larger-than-life smile," a younger sister, Pamela Redd, said. "He always wanted to be there for his family, that was his first priority, no matter what else was going on in his life."

Besides his wife, daughter, sister and grandson, he is survived by two other daughters, two other siblings and his mother, Pauline, who turned 83 Wednesday.

Carl Redd will be buried at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois. Though authorities have temporarily suspended military honors, he will be laid to rest with other veterans who served their country, Delliah Redd said.

Christy Gutowski


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