Ellen Wehrle, 70

Speech therapist, Unity Temple president and choir member

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Ellen Louise Wehrle died peacefully at home on Sunday, April 23, 2017, surrounded by family. Born in Cleveland, Ohio on Aug. 12, 1946, she spent her childhood in Euclid Ohio, and graduated from the College of Wooster. After spending 3½ years teaching English in Japan, she earned a master's degree in speech therapy from Case Western Reserve University. 

A job offer from Michael Reese Hospital drew her to Chicago, where she met Rich Pokorny while folk dancing at the Old Town School of Folk Music. After their marriage, she and Rich moved to Oak Park, where they raised two children and lived for 40 years. Friends and neighbors remember her calm and kind manner.

Her career included working in home health, establishing a speech therapy department at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, and concluded with 22 years as a speech therapist in the Forest Park Public Schools.

Ellen and her husband were members of the Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation for 37 years. She taught Sunday School, was twice president of the congregation, and sang in the choir, among numerous other church activities. Unity Temple members recall her warm and welcoming spirit.

She leaves behind Rich Pokorny, her husband of 40 years; her son, Brad (Jenny) Pokorny; her daughter, Meghan Pokorny; her grandson, Gavin Pokorny Trader; and her sisters Mary Wehrle and Peg Wehrle. She was the aunt of Amy Tooley, Wes Tooley, Erin Novak, and Christine Novak.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 22 at Unity Temple, 875 W. Lake St., Oak Park. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Unity Temple UUC Music Program or the Oak Park Conservatory.

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