I am Mary Ellen's older sister, Joanne. She was born on my third birthday, July 23, 1949. Mary Ellen was a wonderful, loving little girl. We were very close growing up and even shared a bedroom together. We had a little brother, John who was also at OLA at the time of the fire in first grade. The day after Mary Ellen's funeral our mother gave birth to a little girl and named her Marilyn. Since then they had two more boys, Robert and Richard. My parents are now grandparents to ten grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. They live in Schaumburg and are doing very well. All of the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren know about Mary Ellen and what happened to her. We miss her very much and think about what she would be like if she were here. Her life was cut so short...it's too bad that she had to die at such a young age. I wish that she could have had a chance to become a mother and a grandmother like myself. I just live for my family and I know that she would have been the same. She was a very loving little girl, always smiling. She cried the night before the fire at bedtime for no reason. She said that she couldn't tell us why she was crying. We have often wondered if she had some kind of a sign that she was going to die the next day or that something bad was going to happen. We will never know.
-- (Joanne, Sister - October 2015)
When Mary Ellen was taken suddenly from the heart of our family she took a large part of our hearts with her. Our simple, happy lives were never the same. She was special. Her sweetness and beautiful smile were unforgettable. She was so loved....
-- (Janice, Cousin - October 2015)
Even though so much time has passed, my memories of Mary Ellen remain, clear and happy. I can still see her beautiful face and hear her laugh. She will always live in our hearts.
-- (George, Cousin - October 2015)
My name is Janet Campeglia Tsoukalas. I was a very good friend of
Mary Ellen and her sister Joanne. I think of her often. I know this is a difficult time but I remember it like it was yesterday. I grew up at 944 N. Trumbull, and attended OLA until that September. Mary Ellen and I were going to be in the same classroom.
(On a personal note, I would love to hear from Joannne or any of the family members - my email is email@example.com. I would love to share my memories with you.)
-- (Janet Campeglia Tsoukalas, Friend - October 2015)
My name is Anna Mae Pedro (Marchi). I was a good friend of Mary Ellen's sister, Joanne. I remember Mary Ellen when I would go to their house and Joanne would help me with my homework. Joanne's mom and dad were great people. I grew up at 1042 N. Central Park. Joanne and I gradated together in May 1960.
-- (Anna Mae Pedro, Friend - October 2015)