CHICAGO (CBS) – Her story outraged people; a kind woman who died when a robber making a getaway pushed her down the stairs of an “L” platform on the North Side.
On Saturday, family and friends of Sally Katona-King honored the life of a woman who rebounded from tragedies, including the violent death of her husband.
As CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman reports, Katona-King’s relatives now have to do the same.
At a funeral home on Chicago’s North Side, people found strength in each other as they said their goodbyes to Katona-King.
The 68-year-old was a mother and grandmother dedicated to her church and to serving the community, especially people down on their luck.
Bishop Wayne Miller of Evangelical Lutheran Church of America said Katona-King was a vital member of the church and the community.
“There really is no way to replace her. I mean, there are ways that you could find other people to do the job, but you could never replace who she is or who she was,” Miller said.
Loved ones also said Katona-King could always be counted on to cook for parties.
“She always made custom-made desserts for us for our birthdays,” Miller said. “We got to order whatever dessert we wanted for our birthday celebration. Sally was always there to bring it.”
Her good nature is why her violent death hurt so many, so much.
“It’s just senseless,” said her daughter, Eileen Katona. “I had a lot of plans with my mom this year and now they’re not gonna happen over something so stupid, you know? A phone, it’s just stupid.”
Katona-King died after a man pushed her down a flight of stairs at the Fullerton “L” stop after he had stolen someone else’s iPhone.
“Every day living in cities like Chicago, there are people who become the totally innocent and undeserving victims of thoughtlessness, carelessness, maliciousness by other people,” Miller said.
Miller said his wish is that people will learn from this case and be better to each other. He thinks that would be Katona-King’s wish too.
“Oh absolutely she would hope for that. There was not a vengeful bone in Sally’s body,” he said. “But I do think that it’s true that Sally would have wanted people who behave this way to be called to account for their behavior.”
He said Katona-King believed that was the only way people get better.
The search for the person who shoved Katona-King continued on Saturday.
Police said they have gotten tips after releasing a sketch of the suspect, but so far, no suspects were in custody as of Saturday afternoon.