The Catherine O’Connor Trage (COT) Foundation will host its fourth annual benefit to raise money for a literacy fund at Misericordia Heart of Mercy on Saturday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at Fitzgerald’s Nightclub, 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Berwyn.

The late Catherine Trage, 44, a co-owner of the now-defunct Trage’s Appliances on Madison Street in Forest Park, died suddenly four years ago on Feb. 22, 2008 in Playa de Carmen, Mexico while on a trip with husband John Trage. The couple had four children and lived in River Forest.

“We started a literacy fund in Catherine’s name last year at Misericordia,” said her brother David O’Connor. “The money goes to buy things like iPads, laptops and visual aids for their library. Over three years we’ve given Misericordia $23,000. Before that we donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For a small little family organization we’re really proud.”

On Feb. 8, O’Connor, appeared in a news report on the local NBC affiliate investigating the circumstances of his sister’s death. The report, by WMAQ anchor Rob Stafford, raised questions about an inconclusive FBI investigation into her death. The Forest Leaves also ran a series in December, 2011 about the cold FBI case.

“There are no true answers to Catherine’s death,” said O’Connor. “Everything is in God’s time. We’ll just keep telling her story until something comes forward: new evidence or a person who knows something.”

No charges have been filed in Catherine Trage’s death. Her husband John Trage has denied any connection to her death. John Trage moved with two of his children to Hawaii in 2010.

Catherine’s family hopes to keep her memory alive with their annual benefit in her name. “[The benefit] is well-worth doing, but you can say it’s bittersweet. Knock on wood, we are hoping this year is bigger than last year. Family and friends, love and support have helped, but faith has been a big part of getting us through [the loss of Catherine],” said O’Connor.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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