Forty Years Ago

Here are some Forest Park names that bespeak the village. Uncle Sam Sansone, Mathilda Petersohn, Betty Reich, the Lambkes, the Mohrs, the MacKenzies, the Orlands”the late Dr. Frank and Dr. Phyllis. An equally synonymous name was that of 57 year-old Joe Reichmann, popular businessman and civic leader, who passed away suddenly in October of 1965.

He owned his own insurance/real estate business at 7227 Roosevelt. Editor Claude Walker likened the loss of his close friend to “feeling a void in my mid-section. Here was yet another man, who left us far too soon.”

Walker recalled how he and Reichmann, eager to forge ahead as young men, had the initiative and will to succeed. “Joe was an aggressive youth,” he said, “who sold by the day and went to school at night. Eventually, he married Hazel Schneidewendt and together raised five daughters. Joe Reichmann”a good man and a genuine loss.”

From the Oct. 1965 issues of the Forest Park Review.

Thirty Years Ago

Any number of times you’ve seen police squad cars cruising down a street or alley. Daylight or night, the squads are driven by a suspicious breed”a Forest Park policeman or woman. Often, that’s the end of it; they turn a corner and are gone. But sometimes, that’s the beginning of it. Like the Saturday that Officer Michael Fay was patrolling near Jackson at Circle and spotted a slow moving auto that made several turns without signaling, then stopped in an alley only to proceed with its lights out.

Fay curbed the car and was interviewing the driver when a report came over the radio that a Chicago woman had just been the victim of a strong arm theft of her purse. He noted that her description of the robber was a match. Fay, with two other officers, brought the wrong-doer in for a positive identification. The subject, 19, was booked for robbery, and a 16 year-old accomplice was turned over to juvenile officer Chuck Whelpley.

From the Sept./Oct. 1975 issues of the Forest Park Review.

Twenty Years Ago

You’ve just come from a wedding party with your wife and a friend. It’s Saturday evening and a nightcap at Kelly’s sounds good. Just before entering, you’re accosted by a patron with a pool stick and given a challenge for one of you to engage him in a (friendly?) game of pool, with twenty dollars riding on it. You decline, stating that you’re not that good. Shocked, you try to avoid the knife thrust at you by the challenger but the blade is plunged into your throat. Your friend tries to fend off the attacker and is stabbed in the stomach. Your panicked and horrified wife bursts into the tavern screaming for help.

Two Forest Park policemen, Steve Johnsen and Dan Harder, only recently off-duty, pursue the stabber on foot, then in their car, until curbing him in the 1000 block of Clinton in Oak Park. A brief scuffle, then arrest.

The victims undergo surgery at Loyola and are reported in stable condition. The evil jerk was held under $50,000 bond on two charges of aggravated battery.

Madness does and will continue to occur on Roosevelt Rd. and in pockets of Baghdad. Don’t try to figure it out. You can’t reason with unreason.

Fire fighters attack a car fire. (See photo) The flames are real but the situation is created. It was all part of fire fighting and rescue techniques demonstration during Fire Prevention Week here in October, 1985.

From the Oct. 1985 issues of the Forest Park Review.

Ten Years Ago

Who was (is) Ted Kaczynski? He was the object of an intense nationwide manhunt until his capture revealed he was the Unabomber. He was the man who made very bad use of the U.S. mail by sending explosive letters and packages that killed three and maimed 13. After 17 years of this he was finally tracked down and brought to justice while living a hardscrabble existence in a rickety, forlorn cabin in Montana.

During the search for this “madman,” Forest Park became a focal point for a while. An anonymous local woman revealed she had a sketchbook that FBI officials said might contain drawings of the Unabomber. The drawings were done by a friend of hers, who left her the artwork when he died. He had claimed to be a friend of the suspect. The drawings were made in 1978, and since the ties were cut between the men a year later the woman could not account for the person sketched. The drawing had been in her possession for two years, yet only recently had she made the connection to composite drawings of Kaczynski in the newspapers and television.

It had been established that the person in the sketches had California and Chicago ties, that the Forest Park woman had become friends with the artist in the 1980s and had never met the Kaczynski.

From the Oct. 1995 issues of the Forest Park Review.