CHICAGO, July 16 -- A woman who taught school for decades amassed a more than $1 million estate and left most of it for parks in the Chicago North Side neighborhood where she worked. Dorothy Melamerson died last March from non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 74.
She left a will bequeathing $900,000 to the Chicago Park District and specified that the money be used for programs in the 43rd Ward, where she taught at Brennemann Elementary School. Attorney Scott Levenfeld said Melamerson managed to amass her wealth by 'living rather prudently.' 'She invested, reinvested and invested carefully,' he said Saturday. Stuart Strongin, 56, who was a student of Melamerson's at Stone School, said she was probably the most important person in his life, next to his parents. 'It is appropriate that she would leave the money to the park district. She decided her life and well-being were prolonged because of working out, athletics and having a positive attitude, and she would wish that upon others,' Strongin said. Park district officials said they are considering renaming a North Side play lot in Melamerson's honor. They also are considering setting up girls' basketball, tennis, soccer and softball at Oz Park with the money.