RIP Lotty Blumenthal: A true working class warrior

With profound sadness we announce the passing of Carlene Margaret Blumenthal, known as "Lotty" to close friends, age 82. She passed away on Friday, May 1, 2020 due to heart complications. She was born August 9, 1937 in Chicago, Illinois to Karl Blumenthal and Helen Chervenak.

Carlene "Lotty" Blumenthal was a long-time English teacher and union activist.Carlene was a very social person and loved to teach. She received her B. A. English major, minors in social studies and education from the University of Illinois in 1959. An M.A. English major degree from Chicago State University in 1969. She accrued 60+ graduate hours in courses for teaching gifted learners and Post graduate work in 18th Century Literature at Oxford England University College through Northern Illinois.

Lotty in glassesShe worked tirelessly as a high school teacher for over 37 years in the Chicago Public School District. Most of the time, about 35 years, at Prosser Vocational High School. During the 37 years of her teaching career she was seldom absent, retiring with more than a year’s credit in “sick-day” time.

Carlene was rarely still. She traveled as much as she could and also offer to chaperone high school dances and trips. She traveled to Europe and South America and would collect many souvenirs along the way. She was a collector of many things but her favorite things to collect was custom jewelry and clothes, all different colors, shapes and styles. She was an avid reader of the local newspapers, books and magazines. She often wrote to the editors at the Sun Times, The Tribune and The Lerner Times. She had eight letters published within five years.

S Carlene "Lotty" Blumenthal with reporter Dr. John Kuglerhe was a Cubs, Bulls and Bears fan, often calling the radio stations late at night to give them advice on the coaching and offensive line. She was a lover and supporter of the arts. She often went to Operas, Musicals and Comedy shows. She loved the City of Chicago for its rich culture, culinary options and great medical care. She often talked about the world-renowned physicians and medical centers all within a short driving distance from her home. Rush Medical University was by far her preferred medical center and it is where she passed away. She was not alone when she passed as she was with doctors and nurses that had taken care of her often.

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and Carlene BlumenthalCarlene would think of them all as her heroes especially during these unprecedented times. She was also very thankful for all her caregivers who helped her in the last year of her life. She was especially grateful for Margie Aguilar who was not just her caregiver but her friend.

Carlene was very involved in local politics; she often attended the local county board meetings and made her opinions known. A long time member of Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association (JPNA) since 2001 and active board member most of those years, she was very generous to any fundraisers held. She supported the Women’s Rights Movement. She was a member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, Chicago Teachers Union, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of English, American and Illinois Vocational Association, Illinois Industrial Tech Education Association, Related and New Affiliate (served as executive board member), Illinois Association for Black Advancement of Voc. Education, Phi Delta Kappa, NAFE, Polish Education Council, ASPCA, and was a museum member for many years.

Carlene was often heard saying that her favorite quote was, “One who acts makes a difference.”

Carlene is survived by her brother Carl A. Blumenthal, her nephew Carl L. Blumenthal, her great-nieces Kai Hanner and Marisa Blumenthal, as well as many maternal relatives in Southern Illinois. She loved them all very much.

Please keep her in your prayers as her family and friends celebrate Carlen’s life on Friday morning May 8, 2020, between 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Matz Funeral Home at 3440 N. Central Ave. Chicago, IL 60634. Due to restriction from the pandemic only 10 visitors are allowed at the funeral services and 9 visitors at the cemetery. Flower arrangements are also restricted at the funeral home so, in lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to her preferred charities and/or Carlene Blumenthal Scholarship Fund.

Charitable donations: Rush Medical University, Hillsboro High School (to establish the Chervenak Scholarship Fund), Animal Welfare League, Sav A Pet, National Cancer Institute, Salvation Army, University of Illinois Chicago, Greenpeace, Rosehill Cemetery, Lincoln Park Zoo.


May 5, 2020 at 4:07 PM

By: Jo-Anne Cairo

May 1, Loss

John, Thank You, for the sad news I did call and shared this sad news with others who don't use computers.

May 7, 2020 at 7:29 PM

By: Helen Ramirez-Odell

Lotty Blumenthal

Lotty was an active member of the CTU Women's Rights Committee for many years. She fought with us to implement Title IX at CPS, especially for women in the trades and women in sports.She brought energy to our political activity to elect legislators who supported women's rights and worked with us to promote women's history and get programs and policies in place to improve women's health. Although her health was failing in recent years, she would often call me to work on getting equal pay for the women's soccer team and work on other issues. She even flew to the Coalition of Labor Union Women convention in Las Vegas in October 2019 although she was too ill to participate in many convention activities. It was fitting that she chose to leave us on May 1, the biggest day of the year for the labor movement. And 2020 is the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote. Lotty loved life and tried hard to make the world a better place. I'll miss her a lot.

May 8, 2020 at 12:40 AM

By: Theresa D. Daniels

Don't ever spell it "Lottie"

Lotty (that's the correct spelling) was such an outspoken and very colorful person. She always took the time to pass on her information--and she always had so much of it. She was a fighter for many causes and she studied many different arenas for her efforts. She was a person worth knowing, and my many memories of her are really touching my heart today. Go, Lotty, to either nothingness or, as Jane Goodall says, the next adventure if you think that our physical existence can't be all there is for us.

May 9, 2020 at 12:14 AM

By: Marybeth Foley


Today I was able to visit Matz Funeral Home and attend funeral services for Lotty Blumenthal. Because of the covid-19 pandemic restrictions,few people were able to be in attendance. A few friends were in back sharing fond memories of Lotty and family members sat together in front. They said Lotty wanted a big gathering of all her friends to celebrate her life, but this was not to be, so a memorial gathering is planned for a later date.

A deacon from a nearby Catholic church read and recited the prayers of the funeral service, including a psalm about a valiant woman and ended by telling anecdotes about Lotty.

After that, a limited funeral procession headed to Rose Hill Cemetery to a place in back near Western Avenue that Lotty had picked because it was so beautiful when the flowers were in bloom. Rose Hill Cemetery is a very historic cemetery with many famous people buried there.

This time, the deacon recited committal prayers. The mourners each placed a red rose representing love on top of the casket and the service ended in the chill air.

August 1, 2020 at 11:51 PM

By: Carl A. Blumenthal

My sister Carlene

I'd like to say so much but most of it has already been said here. Although we both lived in the same area, we seldom got together due to her always being to busy. Her wills have already said so much as to her leaving so much to so many. I do know that all of our family will miss her so now that she is gone. This is one of those times so many of us wish we could have spent more time with someone that has now passed away.

February 17, 2021 at 10:09 AM

By: Peter Kirsch


I graduated from Prosser in 1967. I believe, and I remember Mrs. Blumenthal well. She was my English teacher. I am sorry to hear about her passing. I am now a writer and graphic designer, working for a phone book for about 5 years. I've been married only once and have a 15 and a half year old daughter, Nicole. My wife died in 2016 and Nicole is now living with me. I am 73 years old (yeah, right!) and my health is not the best but I am doing as well as I can. Thanks for listening...

May 13, 2021 at 3:25 AM

By: David J Black

knowing ms blumenthal from prosser

Very sad to hear of my favorite English teachers' passing-I remember her fondly as a woman who was always trying to get young folks interested in the curriculum- I was observant and even though I was not a stellar student of hers-her attempts to educate us were not futile-for those that listened-she did her job well and for that-we should all praise her efforts. Rest in peace Ms Blumenthal

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