http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/napervillesun/news/stebic/393961,6_1_NA20_MISSING_S3.article Who is Lisa Stebic? By CATHERINE ANN VELASCO the Herald News PLAINFIELD -- At the time of her disappearance, Lisa Stebic loved butterflies because it symbolized her transformation. In the middle of a divorce, Stebic started a fitness regimen, lost weight and looked forward to a life as a single mom, family and friends say. » Click to enlarge image Lisa Stebic, left, of Plainfield posed March 24 with her sisters, Debbie Ruttenberg, right, and Jamie Bouma in this family photo. The Associated Press RELATED STORIES • 'Sending Lisa love' on her birthday She seemed to understand the saying, "What a caterpillar thinks is the end, a butterfly knows is just the beginning." To celebrate a new start in her life, Lisa got a butterfly tattoo on her lower back with her children's names on each side. She already had a small rose on her ankle with her daughter's name and wanted a tattoo with her son's name. "A butterfly was her symbol right now because she was going through changes in her life. She was going through a divorce. It was a symbol for her about the changes she was making in her life," said Melanie Greenberg, a family member. Lisa had planned to get another tattoo with a smiley face before she disappeared April 30, said co-worker and friend Ruby Zegar. Monday will mark three weeks since the mother of two disappeared from her Plainfield home at 13244 Red Star Drive. Lisa's husband, Craig Stebic, reported to Plainfield police that he hasn't seen his wife since she left their home with her purse and cell phone about 6 p.m. April 30. He said she left on foot or was picked up because her car was still in the driveway. Lisa has missed some milestones in three weeks, including Mother's Day and now her 38th birthday, which was Saturday. For Lisa's birthday, Kim Young, Sodexho Food Service manager and Lisa's boss and friend, said Lisa and co-workers had planned to go out and have drinks to celebrate. Young hired Lisa four years ago, developing a friendship based on common interests, such as animals and fitness. About a year ago, Lisa and Young focused on getting healthy. "She would make weird drinks, and I would make smoothies, and we'd compare them," Young said. While Young experimented with turkey burgers, Lisa enticed her children with healthy salads. "She lost 40 pounds. Over the year, she started working out. She was running and taking the dog for a run around the house," Young said. "She started feeling good and wanted to get other people involved." Young, who lives in Oswego, said she didn't exercise with Lisa, but knew Lisa would go to Plainfield North and Plainfield South high schools to work out. Lisa had looked forward to the summer, planning trips to the beach, the water park and museums with Zegar, a mother of three boys. Zegar described Lisa as a true friend. Young said when you talked, Lisa really listened. "When she met you, she would retain something about you and ask you all these questions about your life and your family," Young said. "When she talked to you, she sat and studied you and listened," said co-worker Betty Stubner. From the beginning Greenberg, the family spokeswoman whose husband, Mark, is a cousin of Stebic, talked to Lisa's mom about her missing daughter. Greenberg wouldn't grant Sun partner The Herald News an interview with the family, saying she is trying to protect Lisa's parents, who are retired and not able to travel. Lisa's sisters were in transit to visit their parents for Lisa's birthday Saturday. The family did e-mail a statement about Lisa. In that e-mail, Lisa's mom said her daughter has a heart of gold and always thought of others first and herself last. In nursery school, if someone was missing a crayon she would stand up and give hers to them. "As a child, Lisa's love of nature became apparent from the early age of 2. From puppies to frogs, turtles to chameleons she was eager to watch, play and nurture them. Her excitement over little things brought delight to her entire family," according to the family's e-mail. The then Lisa Ruttenberg graduated from Libertyville High School in 1987. There, she competed on the swim team and danced jazz. She attended Southern Illinois University before going to Kendall College, where she got a degree in hotel and restaurant management. She worked in hotels in Lincolnshire and Northbrook. "From a teenager on, Lisa took pride and pleasure in creating culinary dishes to surprise her family. We know she specially created these dishes which are rich with love," the family wrote in their e-mail. Life with Craig "She met Craig at a party. They didn't go to school together," Greenberg said. "They got married April 6, 1993, in Jamaica. They eloped." Greenberg said since Lisa is Jewish and Craig wasn't, it was easier to elope than planning a wedding melding both religions. Greenberg's mother-in-law hosted a wedding reception for her niece. Two years later, the couple celebrated the birth of their first child, Alexis, with Zachary following about a year later. The couple lived in Waukegan, but because Craig Stebic was in construction, he frequently traveled to the Plainfield area, so they moved here five years ago, Greenberg said. Craig Stebic's attorney denied an interview with his client about his wife's life. Lisa has an older sister, Debbie, and younger sister, Jamie. The three recently went to a water park hotel in Lake Geneva, Wis., with their children. Known as a devoted mother, Lisa gave up her career that consisted of long evening hours and stayed home to raise her young children. When her children started school, Lisa started working as a Sodexho Food Service worker because the hours meshed well with her children's schedule. The job gave her the same school holidays as her children, and she could be home to take them to after-school activities and help with homework. Craig, an avid hunter in his spare time, is employed as a pipefitter for Mechanical, Inc., and was contracting for Dial Corp. in Montgomery, although he recently finished his contract. He grew up in Highland Park, attended Lake County College and then spent a year at Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy, Ohio. In March 2006, Lisa started working as a substitute custodian for Plainfield School District, working nights after the children were in bed in addition to her lunch duties. However, about a year later she stopped the custodial work. "Last year, she was working 50 hours a week. It was a lot of physical work. She started losing weight then. She is a hard-working girl," Stubner said. "It was too much," Young said. "It was extra money for the summertime. Fun money." Before Lisa disappeared, Stubner said the three of them - Lisa, Stubner and Zegar - planned to request returning to work as lunch servers at Lincoln Elementary next school year. "We were going to get our letters ready ... so we were not moved around somewhere else," Stubner said. "We worked really well together - the three of us." Stubner knows about one rule Lisa lived by. "She would never leave her children alone," Stubner said. "If her husband wasn't going to be there ... she wasn't going to go out."