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Sara Ellen ‘Sally’ Green Vogt, prevailed over Great Depression and arthritis, dies at 84

Sally Vogt could trace her roots to George Washington’s mother and Revolutionary War heroes. Her father, Lewis Green, was part of a prominent family from Downstate Danville. But he lost the family farm during the Great Depression.

Spunky and hard-working, she created a new life in Chicago. Young Sally mastered the L and the bus lines and collected autographs from the many stars who stayed at the Drake Hotel. She landed a job in accounting at the ad agency Foote, Cone and Belding, which she jokingly referred to as Foot, Corn and Bunion.

Sally Vogt / provided photo.
Sally Vogt / provided photo.

She married a man who fell in love with her when he saw her hula-hooping. And she was thrilled when she was able to visit Paris with her adult children and grandchild, sitting at Cafe Les Deux Magots, like her idol, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Sally Vogt idolized Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis / provided photo.
Sally Vogt idolized Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis / provided photo.

Mrs. Vogt treasured her children, Lisa Hebson and Peter Vogt. Her pregnancies were rare periods of remission from the rheumatoid arthritis that gnarled her hands. She never complained of her chronic pain, and she managed to ski and go bowling, her children said.

“She got through it with a smile and a wink,’’ said her son.

Mrs. Vogt, 84, died Oct. 23 in hospice care at Evanston Hospital of complications from a stroke.

She had an astonishing memory that enabled her to greet people by name and empathize with them, recalling stories and worries they’d shared with her years before. And she had vivid reminiscences of her early life on the farm. Once, she left her Shirley Temple doll inside a shed in a pigpen. After little Sally left, a vicious sow rended the doll limb from limb. When her mother spotted the doll’s hair in the mud, she nearly collapsed, fearing the sow had attacked Sally. “She thought she ripped mom apart,” her daughter said.

After a baby chick tumbled into the outhouse, “Her dad hung her upside down to get her chick out of the hole,” Lisa Hebson said.

When the farm failed, the Greens moved to Rogers Park. Her father worked at a bar on Devon Avenue. Her mother, Helen, did bookkeeping at A.C. Nielsen Co. Sally attended Stone grade school and slept on a pullout bed in the family dining room. She said the rosary for her older brother, Lew, who was serving in World War II as an Air Force navigator on missions to Italy and North Africa.

At 14, she won a drawing scholarship to the School of the Art Institute. “She went and there was a nude [model],” her daughter said. Mortified, “she never went back.” She loved going to the beach at Touhy and Sheridan. In 1949, she graduated from Senn High School.

Her aunts, Margaret and Anna Green, taught her etiquette and how to dress. When she worked at Foote, Cone and Belding, the agency was becoming famed for the slogan, “You’ll Wonder Where the Yellow Went, When You Brush Your Teeth with Pepsodent.” On their lunch hour, she and her girlfriends hung around cafes and the Drake Hotel with their autograph books. She met Alan Ladd, Louis Armstrong and and Patty, the youngest of the Andrews Sisters.

Sally Green Vogt / provided photo.
Sally Green Vogt / provided photo.

Sally Green met her future husband, Richard Vogt, when he dropped in at a neighbor’s house. He was an engineering student at Loyola University who earned extra money playing piano at Hamilton’s bar in Rogers Park. “I saw her hula-hooping. I thought, ‘I’m going to marry that girl,’ ’’ he said.

They used to share everything. Now, he asked, “Who am I going to tell, whatever I’m doing? Whatever I’m planning, who am I going to talk to about it?”

They went dancing at the Edgewater Hotel and the Aragon, and they visited nightclubs like the Blue Note, Mister Kelly’s and the Chez Paree. She was 31 and he was 29 when they wed in 1962 and moved to St. Lambert’s parish in Skokie. They were married 53 years.

Sally and Richard Vogt on their wedding day / provided photo.
Sally and Richard Vogt on their wedding day / provided photo.

Though she tried, she never learned to drive. “If somebody was behind her, she’d pull over to let them get by,” her husband said. “She was not going to inconvenience anyone.”

She loved the singing of Patti Page. She liked watching “Downton Abbey,” and the movies “Doctor Zhivago” and “The Sound of Music.” Her favorite flower was the frilly Bowl of Cream peony.

Perhaps because of her experiences in the ad world in the “Mad Men” era, she was a strong backer of equal pay for women, her children said.

Mrs. Vogt is also survived by two grandchildren. Visitation is from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday at Donnellan Family Funeral Services, 10045 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. Her funeral Mass follows at 10:30 a.m. at St. Athanasius Church, 1615 Lincoln St., Evanston. Burial is at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines.

Sally and Richard Vogt and their children, Lisa and Peter / provided photo.
Sally and Richard Vogt and their children, Lisa and Peter / provided photo.