Slain Brother Rice teacher fondly remembered by students - New York News

Slain Brother Rice teacher fondly remembered by students

Posted: Updated:
Al Filan, 61. (Brother Rice High School) Al Filan, 61. (Brother Rice High School)
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

As co-workers remembered slain Brother Rice High School teacher Al Filan's legacy during a private memorial at the school Friday, some of his former students spoke of the lasting impression he left on them.

The Mass was open only to faculty, students and alumni, and came a day after a Cook County judge ordered the 61-year-old Filan's alleged killer held without bail, the Southtown Star is reporting.

Prosecutors say a 20-year-old alleged prostitute stabbed the teacher to death in his Orland Park home on Jan. 18 after an argument over how much she was to be paid. His body was found three days later after he didn't show up at school.

RELATED: Brother Rice mourns teacher who was fatally stabbed

Former students, speaking after the mass, paid glowing tribute to Filan.

Mykolas Saulis, a 2012 graduate, said he had Filan as a teacher for three of the four years he was a student at Brother Rice, describing Filan as his favorite instructor. Beyond his work in the classroom, Filan took a keen interest in the well-being of students, Saulis, of Oak Lawn, said, noting how the teacher "helped me though an extremely rough time" in his personal life.

"It was too early for him to go," Saulis said.

Isaac Taylor, a 1990 graduate, knew Filan as both a teacher and coach, playing basketball for two years when Filan was head coach of the junior varsity squad.

"He pretty much devoted his life to the kids," Taylor, who lives in Chicago and works as a stock index trader, said. "He was real tough, but a very loving person."

"It was very sad for his life to end like it did," he said.

At its website, the school described Filan as a devoted teacher and coach who was a mentor to other Brother Rice faculty members. Filan taught at Brother Rice, in Chicago's Mount Greenwood community, for nearly 40 years and was chairman of the school's business studies department and had coached basketball. He also coached soccer at Andrew High School in Tinley Park for more than 10 years through the 2009-10 school year.

Filan was a member of a politically active family. His older brother is longtime lobbyist William Filan, whose clients include the city of Chicago, and his younger sister, Denise Filan, is a Cook County judge assigned to the Bridgeview courthouse. He's also a cousin of former state budget director John Filan.

The school, in a notice announcing Friday's private Mass, noted that while "there have been allegations in the press concerning Al's personal life, we would hope that everyone will remember him for the good that he did, and ask God to look with mercy and favor upon him."

Matt Bianciotto, a 2003 graduate, said the mass was devoted to "remembering him (Filan) for the good that he did."

The Chicago man said Filan was "rough on the edges but truly cared about his students."

Those who spoke at Friday's mass included Brother Rice Principal James Antos and the school's technology director, Sandra Jones-Thomas, alumni said.

"She (Jones-Thomas) said he never gave up on somebody once he took them under his wing, and if somebody needed help he helped," Saulis, who is now studying at Moraine Valley Community College, said.

Taylor said that there were "a lot of life lessons" that Filan imparted to students — some of which didn't resonate until long after they left Brother Rice.

"He talked a lot about choices and consequences," Taylor said. "He told us to make good choices and realize whatever choice you make there is going to be a consequence for it."

An Ohio woman, Alisha Walker, told police she stabbed Filan after he pulled a knife during a dispute at his home over how much he owed her, according to prosecutors. They struggled over the knife and he was stabbed 13 times including in the chest, arms and behind his ear, prosecutors said.

In a videotaped interview, Walker said she went to Filan's home with another woman after he solicited them for sex on Backpage.com, a website used for prostitution and other adult services, prosecutors said. The other woman is not a suspect in the murder, police said.

Walker's family said she told them that she acted in self-defense after Filan pulled a knife on her.

Follow Us!

Share Your Photos & Video

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Community celebrates renovated Queens Library branch damaged by Sandy

    Community celebrates renovated Queens Library branch damaged by Sandy

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:57 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:57:15 GMT
    It's been nearly a year and a half since Superstorm Sandy tore through the Queens Library Arverne branch in the Rockaways. Now it is back in business.Sandy left behind 4 feet of water. A massive renovation -- gutting, cleaning, repainting, rewiring -- was needed to get everything back up to speed. The library, which reopened March 18, is a vital part of the community.
    It's been nearly a year and a half since Superstorm Sandy tore through the Queens Library Arverne branch in the Rockaways. Now it is back in business.Sandy left behind 4 feet of water. A massive renovation -- gutting, cleaning, repainting, rewiring -- was needed to get everything back up to speed. The library, which reopened March 18, is a vital part of the community.
  • NYPD identifies woman wanted for baby snatch attempt

    NYPD: Woman tried to snatch baby in stroller

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:36 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:36:31 GMT
    Police want to question a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. The incident occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. The 8-month-old baby was not harmed. People who were in the area jumped in to stop the woman before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police. A sketch was released on Friday of the suspect.

    Police are looking for a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. Police have identified the suspect as Tara Anne McDonald, 46. The attempted kidnapping occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, police said. People who were in the area jumped in to stop McDonald before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police.


  • Basil farm ready to switch to marijuana

    Basil farm ready to switch to marijuana

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:11 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:11:50 GMT
    Basil plants grow on a New Jersey farm, but the facility could be turned into a five-acre medical marijuana greenhouse with only 48 hours' notice. The hoses from the state-of-the-art Dutch hydroponic system are watering flowers now, but with a few minor adjustments could just as easily grow marijuana plants for medicinal cannabis. The only reason it's not happening now is because the company is publicly traded and subject to federal law.
    Basil plants grow on a New Jersey farm, but the facility could be turned into a five-acre medical marijuana greenhouse with only 48 hours' notice. The hoses from the state-of-the-art Dutch hydroponic system are watering flowers now, but with a few minor adjustments could just as easily grow marijuana plants for medicinal cannabis. The only reason it's not happening now is because the company is publicly traded and subject to federal law.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices