Congregations Gather to Honor Slain Deacon

Sally Katona-King's death ruled a homicide

By Sharon Wright and BJ Lutz
|  Wednesday, Mar 30, 2011  |  Updated 10:09 PM CDT
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Woman Turned Tragic Life Events into Mission of Giving

Sally Katona-King died Tuesday, hours after being knocked down the stairs by a fleeing robber at the CTA's Fullerton stop.

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Woman Turned Tragic Life Events into Mission of Giving

The deaths of Sally Katona-King's husband and a grandson never made her turn her back on others, her family says.
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Congregations from 10 Evangelical Lutheran churches were gathering Wednesday night in honor of a beloved parishioner who died after being pushed down the stairs by a thief.

Sally Katona-King was supposed to accompany her pastor to the already-scheduled event at Mission of Christ Lutheran, at 1345 North Karlov Ave.

With her death, the event took on a new focus and included a dinner, which was one of the 68-year-old's passions, family and friends said.

"Her greatest dream was to serve people.  And that's what she did.  She loved to cook.  Just last week we were at her church -- First Lutheran Evangelical Lutheran Church -- and she was in the kitchen doing soup as she always does, and tonight we're doing that in honor of her," said church spokesman James Grooms.

Katona-King was a deacon at that Logan Square church.

"Sally's life was a life lived beautifully. Although she's not with us this evening, I feel a special presence. I feel she is here in our midst,"

Police said they're still looking for the man who stole a woman's iPhone and barreled through a group of commuters, including Katona-King.  She fell down the stairs, and a Wednesday autopsy revealed she died from multiple injuries.  Her death was ruled a homicide, the medical examiner's office said.

The alert issued by Belmont Area detectives described the thief as a black man between the ages of 17 and 30.  He stands between 5 feet, 6 inches and 6 feet, 4 inches and weighs between 130 and 210 pounds.

He was wearing a black hat, blue jeans, and a black jacket with the letters "WS" on the back, the alert said.

Anyone with information should call detectives at 312-744-8262.

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