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posted: 12/26/2013 8:41 AM

In memoriam

DuPage County said goodbye to many who made a difference

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Michael Gustafson, 15

Whether he was helping a fellow student struggling with a math problem or politely clapping for a golf teammate's shot, 15-year-old Michael Gustafson gave his all and did it with a smile. The Naperville North High School student died in January after nearly a five-year battle with a malignant brain tumor that was discovered when he was 10. He was a dedicated member of the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life campaign.

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Theresa Burns, 57

A staff member at an Aurora residence and school for students with psychiatric challenges, the Des Plaines woman was struck by a vehicle and killed in January while trying to rescue a student who had run into the street from the Northern Illinois Academy facility. The driver of the vehicle abandoned the car and fled on foot.

Abigail "Aby" Villalpando, 18

Three men were charged in connection with the murder of the West Aurora High School senior, who was bludgeoned with a hammer and then set on fire in early February. The first murder victim in Aurora since late 2011, friends remembered Aby for her friendly personality and bubbly attitude.

Jean Mooring, 86

The longtime Glen Ellyn volunteer who died in February was instrumental in helping transform an abandoned railroad right of way into what would become the Illinois Prairie Path, a 61-mile trail for hiking, biking and horseback riding that stretches from Cook to DuPage to Kane counties.

Chet Rybicki, 96

The two-term Naperville mayor, who served from 1975 to 1983, was instrumental in leading the city during a crucial period in its history, pushing for commercial development and building the downtown. Also one of the Founding Fathers of the Riverwalk, he died in March after a long illness.

Graham Stevens, 19

The Wheaton College freshman was remembered for his sense of humor and counseling spirit. A Wheaton resident, he was a member of the school Glee Club and played piano as part of Blanchard Alliance Church services. He died unexpectedly in late March while playing Capture the Flag at school.

Stephanie Pickett, 18

The senior at Wheaton Warrenville South High School, who died in April in a one-car crash near Wheaton, had an outgoing personality and love of animals. The driver of the vehicle in which she was riding, 31-year-old Karlos Leath of Warrenville, will be sentenced early next year and faces at least eight years in prison for aggravated DUI.

Tim West, 66

He was the guiding force behind the Naperville Sun for 40 years. West, who lost his battle to cancer in May, joined the Sun in 1973 and served as a reporter, editor and columnist. Former co-workers said he always tried to play the curmudgeon, but beneath the rough exterior was a gentle and kind heart.

Tom Marziani, 89

He believed anything could be made better and devoted much of his life to improving his hometown of West Chicago, serving on a variety of bodies ranging from the plan commission and chamber of commerce to the DuPage Airport Authority. "He did just about everything," Mayor Ruben Pineda said. "He was the kind of person any community would love to have."

Jennie Dizon, 17

The Downers Grove teen was struck and killed by lightning while reading in a neighborhood park just days before her scheduled graduation from Benet Academy. Friends described her as joyful and enthusiastic with a beautiful voice and smile and some of the "craziest dance moves."

Christopher Lorek, 41

The former Glen Ellyn man was one of two special FBI agents who fell to their deaths during a May 20 counterterrorism exercise off the Virginia Beach coast. He and Stephen Shaw -- both members of the bureau's elite hostage rescue team -- were fast-roping from a helicopter onto a ship when the aircraft encountered difficulties and the men plummeted "a significant distance," authorities said.

Jeana Andrus, 48; Jessica Andrus, 22; Jennifer Andrus, 16; and David Andrus, 50

A Darien-area man upset with losing his job and his family's finances went on a shooting spree inside his home in mid-June, killing his wife and two daughters before turning his gun on himself, authorities said. Officials said David Andrus, 50, killed himself after fatally shooting his wife, Jeana, 48, and the couple's two daughters, 22-year-old Jessica and 16-year-old Jennifer.

Karole Kettering, 69

Over more than three decades at the helm of her own charity, Carol Stream-based Humanitarian Service Project, Karole Kettering always was quick to extend a helping hand to those in need. Sometimes it meant groceries and gifts at Christmas for needy families. Other times it meant toys and books for a child's birthday, or everyday household items for seniors. Sometimes, she was just there to listen. Staff members at the nonprofit group said they hoped to carry on her mission after her death in June following a stroke.

Beverly Fawell, 82

The DuPage County lawmaker was a member of one of the area's most prominent political families. A longtime Glen Ellyn resident, she was remembered as both an advocate in Springfield for the disabled and a dedicated mother, giving up her post in the state Senate in 1999 to care for her grandchildren when her son died at age 45. A member of the Illinois House and Senate from 1981 to 1999, she died in June.

Connie Zimmermann, 81

She served as Glen Ellyn village president from 1973 to 1977 and later on the DuPage County Board. During her time as president the Village Links Golf Course Clubhouse expanded, the historic Stacy's Tavern Museum was renovated and improvements were made to the Illinois Prairie Path. She died in June at her daughter's Wisconsin home.

Amer Kahn, 6

The Naperville boy drowned in early August in a retention pond by the Glenmuir Luxury Rental Homes complex near 95th Street and Cedar Glade Drive. A passer-by found the boy and attempted CPR until authorities arrived, but it was too late.

Cleve Carney, 74

The longtime Glen Ellyn resident was known as a businessman, a veteran and a lover of the arts, but perhaps he'll be best remembered for the impact he had on nonprofit organizations throughout DuPage County. Carney, who died July 31, donated money and countless volunteer hours to groups including the DuPage Community Foundation, College of DuPage, Elmhurst Art Museum, the Morton Arboretum and B.R. Ryall YMCA.

Don Darby, 38

The Glendale Heights cop and his canine partner, Lucky, were well known throughout the community, not only for their crime-fighting efforts but for their frequent appearances at schools. Darby, who previously served with the DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group, died in August after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.

Donald Layne, 83

His career in education and business included stops as a principal at Addison Trail High School, as a school board member and as president of the Addison Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Active in the Addison community for decades, he died in August.

Lynette Klingbeil, 50

The lifelong Naperville resident was known for her volunteer efforts, devotion to family and uncanny memory. A longtime member of the Jaycees, she was executive director of the Last Fling in 2001, and a frequent community volunteer. She died unexpectedly in late August.

Narayan and Jay Venguswamy

The Kentucky surgeon and his wife were killed in late September when the single-engine plane Narayan was piloting crashed and burned in a bank parking lot near Clow International Airport in Bolingbrook. Authorities said Venguswamy had aborted a landing at the airport just before the fatal crash.

Juanna Anaya, Maria Duran, Donna Mejia and Maria Orellana

All four Chicago women were killed when the Ford Explorer they were riding in left I-290 and rolled over several times in Addison. The driver of the vehicle was cited for several traffic offenses. The victims all had identification cards from a temporary employment agency in Chicago.

Linda Valez, 33

The homeless mother of seven who had been living in a Wheaton PADS shelter was stabbed to death and her body buried in a shallow grave in Glen Ellyn's Panfish Park. Police charged a 45-year-old acquaintance, Myron Ester, with the woman's death. Valez's mother, Gloria Araujo, said her daughter dealt with mental illness, but was always the type of person who would look out for others. "She didn't just think of herself," her mother said. "Whatever she had, she would always give."

Hugh Hill, 89

The longtime ABC 7 newsman and Naperville resident had a commanding presence, an encyclopedic knowledge of local politics and a fearless approach to reporting -- a job he once said he wanted since he was 6 years old. He died in October.

Doug Mains, 79

The Wheaton physician's passion for preservation helped save two DuPage County Forest Preserves from development, first Danada in Wheaton and then St. James Farm in Winfield. As an orthopedic surgeon, he was credited with performing the first total hip replacement in DuPage County in 1967 at Central DuPage Hospital. He died in December after a short illness.

Tom Lambert, 57, and Jan Lambert, 56

The Naperville husband and wife, both fighting physical ailments, were killed in December when fire ravaged their home. Tom was a soft-spoken man who was battling brain cancer that forced him to give up his psychology practice in Naperville. Jan, who was blind as a result of a different kind of brain tumor, was known for her upbeat personality and sense of humor.

Jim Corno, 66

The Naperville resident and president of Comcast SportsNet Chicago died in December after fighting a long battle with cancer. He was a leader in regional sports networks in Chicago, having worked with every station here for nearly 30 years since he came to Chicago in 1984.

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