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Our Lady of the Angels (OLA) School Fire, December 1, 1958



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Joseph Dominic Modica, Jr.
Room Age Birthdate Grade B/G/T
210 9 4/30/49 4 Boy
Teacher
Sister Mary Seraphica Kelley, BVM
Address
942 N Springfield 
Family
Father: Joseph Modica, Sr.
Mother: Sadie (La Porta) Modica
Sisters: MaryAnne, Nancy and Diane Modica
Grandparents: Mary Modica, and Frank and Pauline La Porta 
About Joseph
Joseph was almost through making a Christmas present for his family out of letters cut from a cereal box and glued onto a backing. It read: "I, Joseph, promise to do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to be square and to" ... it was the Cub Scout Promise. He never finished it. 
Interred: Queen of Heaven (Hillside, IL)
Memories of Joseph
I grew up with Joseph's three younger sisters, two of which were not born at the time of the fire. The third, Marianne, is the sister who Joe went back into the school to attempt to save, because he could not find her. His parents mourned his death for many years and kept vigil. His father, Joe Sr., could not even mention his name without breaking into tears. His younger sisters, Nancy and Diane, always loved him even though they never knew him. A portrait of Joe hung in their dining room. Each night before bed Nancy and Diane would say good night to him, wishing him well on “his vacation in heaven”.
    -- (Paula, Friend)
I never knew my cousin Joseph, but my sister Linda and I were very close to his younger sisters, Nancy and Diane, while growing up. My Aunt Jeanie Catalano and my cousin Maryann Modica (Joseph's sister) both survived this terrible, devastating disaster. I remember when I was young my mom (Maryjane) telling me that cousin Joseph was taken away because he was an angel on earth and God takes all angels. Everyone who was privileged to have known Joseph said he was a beautiful person with a heart full of love and compassion. It surprised no one that he bravely risked his life to save his sister. I believe this angel is still around watching over his family and loved ones.
    -- (Patricia Traina, Cousin)
I knew Joey from when he was in Cub Scouts. I was a Boy Scout and I would go to the meetings and help his mom with the boys. He was just a great kid and seemed so happy all the time.
    -- (Chuck, Friend)