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Two slain in same South Side neighborhood mourned

Updated: July 29, 2012 5:17PM

Donald Ellens was the kind of neighbor who would mow other people’s lawns and shovel snow from their sidewalks, friends said.

Althea McGee was just as helpful, an “auntie” to many on the block who was known for her smile and devotion to her church.

The South Siders, who didn’t know each other but lived less than two miles apart, were both found murdered in their homes Tuesday night, shocking residents in their mostly quiet neighborhoods.

“I’m about ready to go to tears,” Parthenia Jones said Wednesday of the discovery of 62-year-old McGee’s bullet-riddled body in the 9000 block of South Dobson Avenue.

“She was a lovely person,” Jones, 53, said of the woman who welcomed her to the neighborhood just a year ago and informed her of where their alderman’s office was.

Relatives found Ellens, 77, stabbed multiple times at his residence, in the 9000 block of South East End Avenue, authorities said.

On Wednesday, the retired Cook County Hospital employee’s family grieved inside as a handyman changed the locks on the front door.

Neither of the victims’ homes showed any signs of forced entry and the deaths do not appear to be related, police said.

Ellens had lived in his neighborhood for roughly four decades and often enjoyed sitting on his porch chatting with friends.

“He was everybody’s helping hand,” said Robert Barry, 62. “If there was somebody in the neighborhood who didn’t look right, he would be the one to let us know. [His murder] just don’t make sense to me.”

McGee, who retired from AT&T earlier this year, had lived in her neighborhood for 37 years. When her son and daughter hadn’t heard from her for a few days, they called police to do a well being check.

But nobody expected to find the mother who used to make Easter dresses and hats in her basement gunned down.

“We’re shocked,” a neighbor said.

There were no arrests in either murder Wednesday night.

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