While Chicago mourned the passing of its beloved Ron Santo, Forest Park mourned the death of a dear friend, loyal Kiwanian and consummate Forest Parker, Laureen Thornton.

Everyone who knew Laureen had great respect for her and her no nonsense approach to life. As her son Chris said, “She might not like what someone did, but she always liked the person.” Although Laureen knew the financial secrets of many in town, she never, ever, by a sigh, a rolling of the eyes or the raising of an eyebrow, gave any indication of what she knew. 

The closest she ever came to making a judgment about me was once when I gave a donation to her peanut cause. She returned my check and said “You can’t afford it.” Her accuracy and honesty in accounting skills, and in life in general, were unsurpassed. It will be hard to replace her. In many ways she can never be replaced.

Laureen had a full life, ups and downs as we all have. Her great loves were her sons, Chris and David, who were with her all through her life. Chris was at her side constantly during this final ordeal. Our deepest sympathy to Chris and David and to all who loved and admired Laureen Thornton.

Shirley and Jack Christell are justly proud of son Lance’s daughter, Anna, who earned a Ph.D. while caring for her 2 year old and working full-time.

Speedy get well wishes to Judy Gist who has been in the hospital for some time and is now home recuperating.

Special happy birthday wishes to Loretta Woltje who will be 95 years old on Saturday, Dec. 11.

On Dec. 4, Roger and Geri Grant celebrate 34 years of marriage and the same number of years as Forest Parkers. Congratulations!

Join Doss family and friends for a JDRF fundraiser in memory of brother Pat Doss. Friday, Dec. 10 at Mugsy’s. 6:30 pm. $10 donation at the door, $20 includes a T-shirt Includes food, raffles, etc.

Thanks to the weatherman, and all the creative merchants on Madison Street. Forest Park’s annual Christmas walk was probably the best ever. Whenever something great like this happens I think of Art Jones and John Trage, (that’s “Uncle” John Trage), who were responsible for the renaissance of Madison Street and Forest Park in general several years ago. Newcomers probably have no idea of how it used to look. All of this year’s store fronts were a delight, but my favorite was Schauer’s “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” In case you didn’t recognize grandma, she was played by Loretta Jantz. Elvis Presley ‘s “Blue Christmas” was my favorite two years ago. That was the year Rich Schauer was Elvis – a perfect Elvis. But to tell the truth, I think there were many winners again this year.

Happy December birthdays to Matt Pingel, DeMara Gilbraith, Brian Mullen, Scott Marler, Gloria Chaney, Andrew Doss, Mary Alice  Nee, Peyton Brown, Morgan Trage, Madison Hannah, Pronek, Corina Harnett, Steven Rozmus, Andene Maughn

Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life’s other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side of Chicago in a great neighborhood when it was a great time to be young.