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Embroiderers guild remembers slain Oak Lawn woman

Members Beverly Hills Embroiderers' Guild gather Tuesday Oak View Community Center Oak Lawn for first time since member Janice Conta's

Members of the Beverly Hills Embroiderers' Guild gather Tuesday at Oak View Community Center in Oak Lawn for the first time since member Janice Conta's death. | Alison Nicol/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 21, 2014 7:06PM



The Beverly Hills Embroiderers’ Guild this week remembered their beloved member Janice Conta, who was killed last month, along with her husband and 5-year-old grandson.

“I just want to take the time to reflect on Janice and her life, even though I only knew her for eight years,” guild president Jennifer Rodriguez said. “It was a privilege to know her and to be a guest at her house many times.”

The group met Tuesday morning at Oak View Community Center in Oak Lawn. It was the first time they gathered since Conta’s death.

Authorities said Janice’s son, John P. Conta, killed his family members by shooting them Feb. 26, the day after her grandson Matthew’s fifth birthday party at the family home in the 9800 block of 51st Avenue, and set the house on fire. They said her son then killed himself with a gunshot while in a car in the house’s garage.

On Tuesday, Rodriguez read from condolence cards received from the Homewood Embroiderers’ Guild and the Crisis Center for South Suburbia in Tinley Park, for which the guild has been making bed covers.

“It was Janice’s idea that we do a service project,” said Dee Brown, a member of the guild’s board. “She pressed for the group to do a service project. Maybe we can name it in her honor.”

Brown said Conta, a former guild president, gave each board member a hand-stitched gift when she stepped down after her two-year term as president ended.

“I was always at her house,” Brown said. “She was so giving.”

The guild has plans to dedicate its annual exhibit held on the first weekend in October at the Oak View center, 4625 W. 110th St., to Conta and former member Bette Cordes, who recently passed away.

“What a legacy she left,” fellow guild member Ede Iverson said.

The exhibit will feature a table displaying both of the ladies’ work, along with a picture and a small biography.

“In a few months, we will contact Janice’s daughter, Amy, to see if she can share a few pieces of her work with us to display,” Rodriguez said. “I have one of her Christmas ornaments. If anyone else has one, please bring it out. Finally, I just want to say that I’m glad we all have each other to get through this.”



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