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



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Margaret Anne Sansonetti
Room Age Birthdate Grade B/G/T
212 10 9/21/48 5 Girl
Teacher
Sister Mary Clare Therese Champagne, BVM
Address
1048 N Hamlin 
Family
Father: Raymond Sansonetti
Mother: Anne (Lynch) Sansonetti
Brother: Raymond Sansonetti, Jr.
Sister: Kathryn Sansonetti 
About Margaret
Of Peggy's family, only her sister Kathy is alive today. 
Interred: Queen of Heaven (Hillside, IL)
Memories of Margaret
This is the back of the prayer card from Peggy's wake and funeral.


    -- (Kathy, Sister)
The last time I saw Peggy she was 9 or 10. I will never forget that day; I remember seeing smoke in the sky and not knowing that the school was on fire. I had 2 other cousins at school that day and thank God they made it out. My two uncles went to the school to find the girls. I remember family telling us later that they could only identify Peggy through her shoes -- I guess that day she wore penny loafers.
    -- (Gloria Fillicetti, Cousin)
The last time I saw "Peggy" was the day before the fire, which was Sunday. Peggy and I were best friends. I don't think there was a day that went by that we weren't together. Never did I think Sunday would be the last day I'd see her. I didn't attend OLA, instead, I went to another parochial school in the neighborhood. My Mother would pick me up from school everyday. Monday was no different, but as I came down the stairs to meet her, the first thing she said was "the school's on fire!". I thought she meant my school. As we started walking home, she told me of the fire. I remember walking down Hamlin Ave. and passing Peggy's house. I noticed her sister, Kathy, standing on the front porch. She was talking to her friends, but I didn't stop to talk to her, I just kept walking in the direction of OLA. I guess I just figured since Kathy was home safe, so was Peggy. Sadly I was wrong.
    -- (Valerie Tomasino, Friend)
I saw Peggy at lunchtime on the day of the fire. We sort of shrugged a silent hello to each other since our friendship went back to our preschool days of hop-scotch and jump-rope and after all, we were too BIG now for those "little kid" games.

One of my brothers brought me a warm coat to wear and walked me home from a stranger's house after the fire. As we walked down Avers Ave and past the school building, Mike pulled my coat up over my head and commanded me not to look. There, we met Kathy who asked if either of us had seen Peggy. Of course we hadn't and I'll never forget that look of terror on her face.

Today, I can't help but wonder what kind of woman she would have turned out to be. Whenever I hear the song "Oh little playmate, come out and play with me", I think of those days gone by and smile!
    -- (Mary Kay Raymond Masco, Friend)


It might have been the summer of 1958.I was thirteen at the time, and I lived on Avers Avenue. I remember playing catch with a little girl on Thomas Street. Her name was "Peggy", and she must have been nine or ten years old. The one thing that stands out in my mind about her was how nice she was to me. She was so sweet, plus she was a little cutie. That was the only time I met her. Every year when I think of that tragic day in December, I think of all those children, but most of all,I'll always remember that sweet little girl named "peggy".
    -- (Jerry Kasper, Neighbor)
I am Peggy's cousin, Rosalie Sansonetti. Peggy and I were in the same room "until" the year of the fire. My memories of Peggy are sparked by the family photos.

I can remember the frantic phones calls that came to our house about the safety of my sister and I. All I kept hearing was my dad saying that Peggy was still missing. That night, my dad and my uncle, Peggy's father, went looking for her ... too painful to tell all ... I will never forget ... God had a special plan for Peggy.
    -- (Rosalie Sansonetti Kelton, Cousin)


My grandfather and Peggy's father were brothers. I remember going to my grandparents house and them telling me that we were going to Uncle Ray's house. I would be so excited to go because I would be able to see Kathy and Peggy. I thought they were the prettiest girls I knew! They collected dolls that were on a buffet, and I was so fascinated by them. Even though I was born in 1952 and not much of an age difference, I still remember! Someone wrote they would have liked to see how Peggy would have turned out...well, I could say I still see Kathy and she is a beautiful person inside and out and I could stake anything that Peggy would have been just as beautiful as her sister. I visit the grave site quite often and pray for all those who lost their lives. I know Peggy is with the rest of the Sansonetti family and is happy. You see, my last Uncle just passed away and he can now be at peace with her, and one day I too will see her beautiful smile again! May Our Dear Lord watch over all who still have pain and suffering from this tragedy and know that yours will be the kingdom of Heaven forever and ever.
    -- (Marie McDonald, Cousin)
Dearest Peggy,

To the very best sister anyone could possibly ever have asked for. How lucky I am to have a sister like you! Not only are you my sister, but my very best friend as well. For many, many years I have often wondered why God took you that day in December instead of me. I now know why.

I remember hearing a story about a gardener, who was growing the most beautiful flower for the Master of the house. The gardener took such special care of this flower, it was the most beautiful flower that anyone had ever seen. Then one day, the gardener suddenly found the flower gone. He was very, very depressed. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said. "Do not be upset, the Master of the house saw the flower and loved it so much that he picked it early and brought it to his home to be with Him forever!"

Peggy, you had just made your Confirmation, you were beautiful both inside and out. God was pleased and decided to picked you early! He took you home to live with Him forever!

I love you, Peggy, and will treasure all of the moments that we shared together. Here's to you my beautiful sister until we see each other again and smile, for all eternity, in heaven!

All my love,

Kathy "Your big sister"
    -- (Kathy Sansonetti, Sister)


I will never forget you and how beautiful your hair always looked. Your mother must have spent hours before school every morning fixing your long beautiful hair - and your sister Kathy's. I enjoyed playing with you at your house on Hamlin Ave. I remember the Apple trees in your back yard would blossom in the spring, and make the whole neighborhood smell good. Until we meet again, my little Angel friend. Rest In Peace.
    -- (Joyce (Cookie) Peneschi, Friend)
My first encounter with Peggy was early in 1958 when I arrived from Italy with my family. Having gotten lost on the way to school, Peggy was asked to be my big sister and friend. Everyday she diligently picked me up from my house and walked me to school, making sure that I made it safely to class. At the end of the day, Peggy would walk me home as well.

Since I had little knowledge of the English language at this time, our walks were quite quiet. However, I always felt safe to speak what little English I did know with her.

Living in a new and unfamiliar country with few friends, Peggy always gave me a sense of safety and reassurance. To this day, I can picture her sweet and gentle face, and I can remember her mild nature. Although we only knew each other for a brief time, her friendship and kindness will remain with me always. Even fifty years later, her memory is strong in my heart. She is my angel in heaven, and I will always love her dearly.
    -- (Maria Linda Pilati, Friend)