Katie Calhoun, artist
Loop North News


15-Dec-13 – At Marina City in Chicago, a very elite club got smaller last week as an “original resident” passed away.

Katie Calhoun Kathleen “Katie” Calhoun lived in the west tower of Marina City for about 50 years. She was a current resident of Marina City who had been the first tenant of her apartment when it opened. Calhoun shows up in a list of residents dated November 1, 1964. She is also in a 2009 list of unit owners.

Calhoun died in her home on December 3. She was 87 years old. Born Kathleen E. Simon on November 15, 1926, she had one sister, June, and a brother, William.

She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and worked as a graphic artist for the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 30 years.

Approached about sharing her recollections of Marina City, Calhoun once explained that her memories were visual, not narrative. She was active and well liked. On May 18, 2003, a two-hour reception at Marina City honored her and 18 other original residents.

Calhoun lived in a studio apartment with her cats. She was a “couch lady,” a term of endearment for older residents who often met on Marina City’s distinctively curved sofas located on its lower concourse level.

Writing about her on January 8, Chicago blogger and former Marina City resident Michael Benami Doyle recalled that Katie would often tell him she “could not imagine a life not lived in the center of a city.”

“There’s a couch lady holding court in heaven,” wrote Doyle. “Any couch lady worth their rim-salted drink down at Dick’s Last Resort will tell you that arguing with Katie wouldn’t get you anywhere.”

A funeral mass is scheduled for December 20 at 10 a.m. at Holy Name Cathedral, 731 North State Street. Central Chapel is handling funeral arrangements.

Portland Cement Association

(Above) An unfinished section of the commercial platform at Marina City in October 1962, about the time the first residents were moving in. The first tenant moved into the east tower on October 14, 1962, and into the west tower on January 12, 1963.

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com


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