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Denise Huguelet was retired from Evergreen Park School District 124. (Supplied photo)

Denise Huguelet was retired from Evergreen Park School District 124. (Supplied photo)

Tributes honor retired teacher killed in Dan Ryan shooting

From staff reports

Friends and former colleagues are mourning the death of Denise Huguelet, a retired teacher who was slain last week while driving home to Orland Park from a White Sox game.

State police said Huguelet, 67, and her husband, Michael, were heading home August 17 after attending an annual outing to the Sox game when she was apparently hit by a stray bullet fired on the Dan Ryan Expressway near 63rd Street about 10 p.m.

Police took two people in for questioning, but they were released without being charged. Police said the incident is still under investigation.

Huguelet spent 24 years as a special education teacher at Evergreen Park School District 124’s Central Middle School.

District 124 officials said in a Facebook post that Huguelet’s passion for her students and her dedication to the community showed in all aspects of her work.

“Mrs. Huguelet’s nature with kids was kind, yet firm, to ensure that students were taught the independent skills they needed to be successful in their futures. She cared deeply about the academic needs of students, and the social and emotional well-being of every students’ needs. An Evergreen Park native, she was a dear friend to many colleagues who will remember her character as pure, honest, fair and kind. She was an incredible woman whose memory will always be with us.”

Former colleagues, students and parents also left tributes on the District 124 Facebook page. One of the teacher’s former students said Huguelet was the reason she made it through the seventh grade at Central Middle School:

“If it wasn’t for her Kindness I really wouldn’t be where I am today plus I remember the entire class made wonderful Christmas cookies before she retired and asked me to check on them afterwards as a favor. Ms. Huguelet will always have a special place in my heart forever. My thoughts and prayers are with the Huguelet family.”

Huguelet graduated from Mother McAuley, where she was known as Denise Sullivan. The school paid tribute to her on Twitter: “Our Mother McAuley community is deeply saddened to learn of the traffic passing of Denise Sullivan Huguelet, ’72.”

Her husband was the village prosecutor for many years for Orland Park.

“On behalf of myself and the village board, we express our sincere condolences to the Huguelet family,” Mayor Keith Pekau said in a news release. “The community mourns alongside you today.”

“I am disheartened to learn of the passing of Denise Huguelet,” said former Village of Orland Park Chief of Police Tim McCarthy. “While this type of violence is always tough, this one hits close to home as the Huguelet family is a part of the Village of Orland Park family.”

Funeral services were held Monday at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Orland Park.

Survivors include her husband, a son, two daughters and 11 grandchildren.

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