Marilyn Fay, 65, Chicago Public Schools teacher

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Marilyn Fay, 65, a longtime resident of Brookfield, died June 14, 2010.

Born on July 9, 1944 in Chicago and raised in the southern suburbs, Ms. Fay was a teacher in the Chicago Public School system for 40 years. Almost all of that time was spent as a first-grade teacher at Leif Ericson School on Chicago's West Side. She loved her job and her students, said Ms. Fay's daughter, Jennifer Piekut.

"She loved her children," Piekut said. "Most of those 40 years as a teacher was spent in impoverished, inner-city Chicago. She really appreciated those children."

Piekut said that at the beginning of each school year, Ms. Fay wouldn't take attendance, knowing their numbers would grow as the days moved forward.

"Some of those children were still working on getting clothes and shoes," Piekut said. And Fay always believed in "the potential of those children," Piekut said.

"She cared about her school children," Piekut said. "She has a good heart."

Ms. Fay was also a tireless advocate for animals and nature, Piekut said. For her 65th birthday, Fay spent a week with Piekut at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.

"Her favorite part was volunteering with the potbelly pigs,' said Piekut. "She had pigs for sleepovers there."

She enjoyed experiencing nature and loved traveling to Alaska and the nation's state parks. Ms. Fay also loved traveling internationally, visiting such places as China, Greece, Turkey and Ireland. At the time of her death, Ms. Fay was planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

"She and her whole family are advocates for animals," Piekut said.

In addition to Piekut, Ms. Fay is survived by her sister, Linda Kolacki, and her best friends, Katie, Soozie, Harley and Rocky. Donations in Marilyn Fay's name are appreciated to P.A.W.S. Chicago (www.pawschicago.org).

A memorial service was held June 18 at Hitzeman Funeral Home in Brookfield. Arrangements were handled by Michaels Funeral Home, Schaumburg.

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