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Local News

Sisters honor late uncle by selling Brookfield home to Seguin

BROOKFIELD – When sisters Barb and Margi Sirovatka sold their parent’s Brookfield home, it allowed them to fulfill not one, but two dreams.

First, they finally made the move to the Big Sky Country of Montana. Second, the sisters were able to see their former home become a residence for those who were special; like their late Uncle Ralph.

The house, a ranch-style, brick duplex located in the 8800 block of Windemere Avenue, was purchased Nov. 10 by Cicero-based nonprofit UCP Seguin Services to become a new home for four adults with developmental disabilities.

Seguin spokesman Dawneen Suriano said the property couldn’t be more perfectly suited to such an arrangement. With a mirrored floorplan, the home includes two living rooms, two dining rooms, two kitchens and four bedrooms.

“Certainly, they’ll have the ability to mingle between the two homes, but they will have their privacy, too,” Suriano said of the new tenants.

Suriano said she expects the residence to be occupied by early 2015.

But, the full story behind the sale actually begins with the Sirovatka sister’s Uncle Ralph.

Norbert and Helen Sirovatka, Barb and Margi’s parents, would welcome second cousin, Ralph Haremski, every Easter and Thanksgiving to their home on Windemere Avenue from the mid-50s to the mid-70s.

Born in 1912, Ralph contracted scarlet fever as a child, resulting in a number of developmental disabilities. After his own parents died, Ralph was committed to living at Dixon State Developmental Center, located about 100 miles from Chicago.

The Sirovatkas greeted Ralph with open arms during the holidays, and always hoped that Ralph could get out of his institutional existence and into a more communal living situation.

“The family always wanted him to live in community housing, but that never came to fruition, even though [the sisters] worked on it,” Suriano said.

Norbert Sirovatka bought the home in 1952 and his mother moved into one half of the house. Later, Norbert and Helen lived in one half, while Barb lived in the other half.

After both parents were gone, Margi, who had lived in Riverside for many years before retiring, sold her home a year ago and moved back in with her sister. Earlier this year, the sisters made their move to Montana and placed the home on the market. It struck them then the property would make a perfect community group home.

“It’s a beautiful home on a nice, quiet residential street in a nice community,” Suriano said. “It was good for them and good for us. They wanted to move and we were willing to pay a price that was good for them.”

UCP Seguin serves nearly 270 people with developmental disabilities in 70 group homes across 25 west and south suburban communities. With the addition of this new home, the organization will have five homes in Brookfield serving 20 individuals.

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