Oprish found niche in mentoring students
BY ADELE L. MACKANOS
Mentoring youngsters gave Donna Marie Oprish pleasure, especially when she knew she was giving students with special needs an opportunity.
Charles Yetsko said his close friend had a knack for mentoring children with learning challenges.
"Donna had empathy and compassion for kids who were having a difficult time," Yetsko said."She was an honest, straight up, a very down to earth person, and someone I considered my friend."
"My sister really liked being able to teach students in the Calumet area, including Lake Ridge School," Ed Bowen said, of his sister's job as a substitute teacher.
Yetsko said Oprish also was an excellent conversationalist and when she wasn't teaching was fond of watching certain television shows.
"She liked 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' and 'Jeopardy.' Those were two of her favorites," Yetsko said.
"Donna was also a fan of the classic movies like the 'African Queen' with Humphrey Bogart and found 'Forrest Gump' a movie that was serious at times but also delivered plenty of laughs. Donna always had a great sense of humor," Yetsko said.
Yetsko said Oprish also had a vast collection of Teddy bears.
"Don't know exactly how many she had, but she was very proud of all those cute collectibles," Yetsko said.
Yetsko said Oprish was a voracious reader who enjoyed poring over any books written by Walt Whitman.
"Donna was well versed on all the authors and especially loved to read historic novels," Yetsko said.
Oprish's aunt Lou Lagenoek, of Austin, Minn., said she will remember Oprish for her warm and friendly smile.
"She always had such a beautiful smile for everyone that brightened everyone's day," her aunt said.
Childhood friend Cindy Persin recalls Oprish was known for her gregarious personality and friendly nature.
"She always had that bubbly personality," Persin said.
Oprish was a Lew Wallace High School graduate and for many years resided in the Glen Park community.
Published in the NW Indiana Times, Tuesday, July 17, 2007 12:37 AM CDT.