The 14 people killed in a bus crash Saturday were a close group of friends and family looking forward to a fun weekend in Tunica, Miss. They were among 30 people from the Chicago area on the bus when it went off Interstate 55 in Arkansas and overturned.
SANDRA CLARK, 62, had a broad smile and loved to work in the garden. Clark, who grew up and lived on Chicago's South Side, worked for the state Department of Labor and retired after 27 years. She recently worked as a payroll clerk for Lavizzo Elementary School before being laid off earlier this year. Her husband, Isaac, 63, last spoke with her around 9 p.m. Friday when she called him from the bus. "She said, 'You miss me?' and I said 'Yeah.' And she said, 'Well I love you and I'll call you when I get there."'
JOYCE DRAIN, 64, wasn't on the bus trip to go gambling like other passengers, she was headed toward the town where she was born, Clarksdale, Miss., to visit family. The longtime Chicago schoolteacher had taught fifth- and sixth-grade math at Brown Academy and had two children of her own, said her sistern-in-law Vielina Drain. She was a niece of the owners of the bus, Marean and Roosevelt Walters. She also was an accomplished cook who took time to bake chocolate chip cookies for a niece away at college. "She was a good family woman. She was a giving, loving person; a good mother and a good friend," Vielina Drain said.
JOHN HAWKINS, 49, was known as a dedicated father who had eight children ranging in age from 8 to 33, said his cousin Nicole Toney. Hawkins was the son of the bus owner's wife, Marean Walters, who also was killed in the crash. Hawkins often helped his mother with repairs at a nine-room home she rented, said tenant Elayna Winters.
CHARLIE B. LOWE, 81, was a great-grandmother whose favorite activity, outside of church, was to gamble, said her daughter Barbara Copeland. The trip to Tunica was her fourth or fifth to Mississippi casinos. She also liked to play a game called pokeno with her children and grandchildren. The game is a combination of poker, keno and bingo. Lowe had been a dietitian at the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park. She had a son and lived with her husband for more than 40 years in their Robbins home.
MAXIE LYONS, 64, loved to travel with her husband, Bill, who was also on the bus that crashed in Arkansas. Maxi Lyons was a retiree who had worked at the Main Post Office in downtown Chicago as a mail handler. She and her husband, a retired steel mill foreman who lost his sight two years ago, had traveled to Mississippi with their friends for the last eight years. "Even before they retired, they loved to travel," said their daughter, Mona Johnson. "They went to cruises, they went fishing, they would drive to Kankakee for breakfast." When they weren't out of town, they played cards with friends every Sunday. Bill Lyons was hospitalized in serious condition Monday.
MAMIE MCCORMICK, 69, was a retired school worker who was always on the go. She volunteered for Alderman Howard Brookins and helped organize family reunions for her neighbors, said her sister Mary Jones. McCormick also had been a precinct captain, election judge and a mom to generations of neighborhood kids. "She was like a second mother to everyone who grew up around here. If we did wrong, we got it," said neighbor David Robinson. Like others on the bus, McCormick loved to travel. "She lived a full life, but I feel she was taken too soon," said her daughter, Linda McCormick.
GENISE MEEKINS, 50, was known in her neighborhood on Chicago's South Side as a community activist. When it appeared that a Wal-Mart might be built nearby, she helped organize her neighbors to petition for a cul-de-sac to be created, to keep their street quiet and safe. Meekins retired from her Chicago Public Schools teaching job to spend more time with her family. Her husband, Ralph Meekins, 53, had sickle-cell anemia and was frequently ill, a neighbor said. "She was truly grateful that they'd had this long together," said Pamela Thomas-Hall, who lived near Meekins.
WILLIAM MORRIS, 58, was usually the life of the party, said his ex-wife, Johnnie Morris. He "lived life to the fullest," she said. "I'm sure he's having no regrets. He can look back and say, 'I did everything (I) wanted to."' Morris was a substitute teacher in the Chicago Public Schools and in Gary and East Chicago, Ind. He had worked at the Harrah's casino in East Chicago and spent 19 years in the accounting department at Standard Oil, Johnnie Morris said. William Morris also was a member of the Toastmasters and Masons.
DERRICK POOLE, 37, worked as an electrician and had a side job at Toys 'R' Us. He was in the middle of a divorce, but was on good terms with his wife of 12 years, said the wife's fiance Sammye Barron. Poole remained close with his two children and he liked to go bowling and play softball.
CORNELIA ROSEBOROUGH, 76, of suburban Harvey never left her home without a hat and liked to dance, said her younger sister, Verline Cottrell. "She was just a gem," Cottrell said. "I don't think I know anyone who matched up to her. ... She loved everybody and everything." Before retiring, she was a cook at Little Company of Mary Hospital. Roseborough's neighbors said she never missed Sunday services at Second Baptist Church. She often let her neighbors' children play on her front porch while she and her dog watched from nearby, neighbor Renee Greer said.
AEUZELIA VAUGHN, 57, was a retired public school teacher who had purchased her dream home in south suburban Matteson three months ago. She was looking forward to hosting gatherings for her extended family. "She was a kind, lovable person who always liked to be around people," said her niece, Kimberly Hobson. "She always had all of us over, she wanted to cook for us, she wanted us to be in her swimming pool." Vaughn taught preschool at the Beethoven School and Jesse Owens School on Chicago's South Side. She traveled the country with her husband before his death two years ago. After his death, she went on trips with friends and family.
MAREAN WALTERS, 67, was the wife of the bus' owner, Roosevelt Walters. She was a regular on the trips to Tunica, and she organized the weekend trip. Many on the bus had been looking forward to her caramel cake, which she served on most trips. Her brother-in-law, Willie Walters, said it was Marean Walters' style, personality and food that kept customers coming back to the business. "We're really going to miss her," he said.
HERBERT WALTERS, 67, was the driver of the bus. The married father of four grew up poor with his brothers Roosevelt and Willie in Prescott, Ark. He came to Chicago in 1963 and later started driving for a living. "He was fun-loving, joked around a lot. But when it comes to a bus, he's a serious person," Willie Walters said.
FANNIE JACOBS, 68. Information on Fannie Jacobs was not immediately available.