S. Barrington woman, 86, drowns in family pool

Updated 6/24/2014 7:24 PM

An 86-year-old South Barrington woman fell into her family's pool and drowned Sunday in what police called a "terrible, tragic accident."

Betty Stas lived with her daughter, Cathy Guranovich, and her son-in-law, South Barrington Village Trustee Stephen Guranovich, at their home on Beachnut Drive.


"She's my beloved mother. I am heartbroken," Cathy Guranovich said. "She was a wonderful, loving, kind woman."

The Cook County medical examiner's office has ruled the death an accidental drowning.

South Barrington Police Chief Thomas Roman said it appears Stas was out for a walk around the pool on a nice day and slipped or fell in. He said she was fully clothed and not dressed for swimming.

Cathy Guranovich said her mother had many underlying medical conditions that could have led to her falling into the swimming pool Sunday when she was home alone. Stas was a 40-year survivor of breast cancer and had heart and lung diseases at the time of her death, according to the medical examiner's office.

Guranovich said her mother was a "bionic woman," after having full knee and shoulder replacements, in addition to a surgically implanted pacemaker. Health issues are what led to her to move in to the Guranovich's home 30 years ago.

"Health problems crept up, and she really needed not to be (living) on her own," Cathy Guranovich said. "I'm glad that never happened and that she never went to a nursing home."

Stas worked as a workers' compensation claim supervisor for Employer's Insurance of Wausau. Her husband, Richard Stas, died in 1974, and she never remarried. The couple also had a son, Rick Stas.

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