Ten Barrington-area senior citizens were inducted into the Barrington Area Senior Citizens Hall of Fame on May 18, at a recognition tea at Lake Barrington Woods.
This year's honorees are: Gerald F. Barry, Barrington Area Library; Sylvia Boeder, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital; Harry Logue, Barrington Area Council on Aging; Carol McGregor, District 220 Educational Foundation; Bonnie Murray, Barrington Northwest Community Associates of the Art Institute of Chicago; Carol Nelson, Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeastern Illinois; Art Rice, Cuba Township; Connie Schofield, former Lake Barrington village president; Donald Semla, Barrington Township; and Ginger Underwood, Citizens for Conservation.
The Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Barrington Area Council on Aging, honors outstanding older adults from the Barrington area for their service to enhance the quality of life in the community.
Seniors are nominated by local service organizations, churches, health care providers, nonprofits, the arts and local governments. Nominating organizations are asked to consider the nominees' professional and personal achievements, as well as their impact on the organization, any special accomplishments after turning 60 (the eligibility age) and any other factors that would highlight their achievements as an older adult.
The Hall of Fame has honored 218 individuals from 68 different organizations since its inception in 1996, including 14 couples.
Gerald F. Barry
Gerald Barry is an active volunteer in a number of Barrington-area organizations, but it's his research on the Civil War that earned him a Hall of Fame nomination from the Barrington Area Library.
"Since turning 60, Gerry's single most outstanding achievement is the research he has done on the Barrington area's involvement in the Civil War," says Rose Faber, head of adult services for the library. Miller's Grove Methodist Church in Barrington Hills was an active recruiting center for the war, and Gerry's "Barrington and the Civil War, 1861-1865," records the 179 men who registered there -- including their names, companies, battles they fought and final resting places.
This research, says Faber, is "a labor of love, which I am proud to make available on the library website."
Barry's interest in the war was sparked by his membership in the Northern Illinois Civil War Round Table; he has been a member since 1995; served as president from 1998-99; and continues to serve as webmaster and historian.
When he's not researching, Gerry gives of his time in other ways. For 15 years, he's volunteered at the Buehler YMCA, welcoming visitors at the reception desk. He does similar duty each week at the reception desk in the cardiac care center at Good Shepherd Hospital. He's also a member of St. Anne's Catholic Community, assisted in forming the parish council there, and served as council president in 2001-02. As a member of the Welcoming Committee, he greeted newcomers to the parish on Sundays, and currently serves as a minister of care, distributing Communion to homebound parish members.
"As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War," says Faber, "Gerry's work will be of enormous help to the Barrington Area Library and all those interested in our history, as well as the descendants of the Civil War veterans."
As community relations director for Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, and even after her retirement in 2008, Syl Boeder has participated in a wide variety of community organizations.
In 1995, she helped create Healthier Barrington, the coalition of community groups that surveys the Barrington area every three years. Survey results help local agencies, businesses and governmental bodies to pinpoint unmet needs in the area as well as develop strategies to address these needs. Boeder continues to serve as the project facilitator for the survey.
She also assisted in developing Legacy Alliance, an offshoot of Healthier Barrington, and has served on the Legislative Committee of the Barrington Chamber of Commerce. She has sat on the board of directors and has been past president of the Barrington Area Council on Aging and Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeastern Illinois.
She continues to serve on both BACOA's advisory board and the Hospice board; she also assists many community groups with strategic planning. More recently, she has worked to facilitate the organization of HERE in Barrington.
Besides her community involvement, "Syl was a wonderful caregiver for her mother and aunt over the past several years," notes Sue Grossinger, older adult coordinator for Good Shepherd. Although on many days you might not have known, she says, "Syl successfully juggled caregiving duties, family, work responsibilities and her volunteer positions."
"Over Syl's tenure, her hard work, significant contributions and expertise cemented Good Shepherd Hospital's long-standing relationship with the Barrington community," Grossinger adds.
"She has always exhibited genuine desire to improve the well-being of all members of our community. She actively gives of herself and is selfless in her commitment and mission in her life. Her compassion and caring for those she works with and for in the Barrington community will be her long-lasting legacy."
When Harry Logue graduated from high school in 1943, he enlisted in the Navy. He was 17 years old. After boot camp and service school, he volunteered to serve on a PT boat and was shipped overseas for 18 months of combat duty. "Our objective," he recalls, "was to sink ships. Which we did."
That straightforward approach to duty might explain Harry's success in the business world as well as his service to the Barrington Area Council on Aging, which has nominated him this year.
Harry began to work for Safety Kleen Corp. in the company's early days, and eventually became North American branch vice president for sales and service. He's also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Garlands' Members Advisory Committee, and the finance committee for U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh's campaign.
He has been on the BACOA board since July 2005. Says Executive Director Joyce Palmquist, "he has been a strong advocate on behalf of the organization. He has recruited volunteers to become involved with the organization and has worked hard to spread the word regarding the good work that BACOA does. He has also strongly encouraged others to support BACOA financially by giving a gift to the organization or by attending BACOA events."
For a number of years, he has also been responsible for the care of his wife, Claire, and as a result, Palmquist says, "he has a deep understanding of the demands placed on caregivers and how important BACOA's services for caregivers are."
And, she adds, "Harry has a wonderful sense of humor -- whenever you meet with him, he has a new joke to tell. One of his outstanding qualities is his sense of humor and how he uses it to help manage some of the challenges he faces in caring for his wife. He is a very positive person and is always looking for solutions to problems.
"But for BACOA, his greatest strength has been as an ambassador helping raise awareness of how we serve the community."
"What makes Carol McGregor's achievements so outstanding is that she has been involved in strengthening our community in so many ways," says Cinda Pittman, chair of the District 220 Educational Foundation. "Carol has served to better our community's arts programs, health services and educational programs and has unselfishly lent her leadership in all these areas."
Carol helped found the District 220 Educational Foundation in 1999, served as chair in 2006, and is still an active and valued member of the board. She has served on the executive board and projects committee and helps with the foundation's fundraising events.
"Her expertise and experience are invaluable to our board," notes Pittman.
She's lent her expertise to other organizations as well. She was a founding member of the board of Wellness Place, and is still a strong and active supporter of the group. She was a board member of the Barrington Area Arts Council for 10 years, serving as president for a year. She's been a member of the Junior League of Chicago since 1975.
You may also know her in her Realtor role; when she was co-broker/owner of Barrington Realty, she was named Barrington Realtor of the Year in 1998. She sold the business in 2008, and is currently a realtor with Barrington Realty Group at ReMax of Barrington.
"Carol has impeccable character and honor and a unique ability to speak her mind and lend her expertise to board discussion, but also to compromise and then champion the board's final decisions," says Pittman. "Her experience of 37 years of community involvement and her total commitment to strengthening our schools are invaluable to our board."
The arts play an important role in Bonnie Murray's life, and it's her involvement with art that's earned her nomination to the Hall of Fame by the Barrington Northwest Community Associates of the Art Institute.
In 1998, Bonnie joined the organization's board of directors and planned trips and excursions so members could enjoy and appreciate art in many forms. Bonnie and her committee planned trips to tour private art collections, visit Polish churches in Chicago, view art and architecture in West Town and Bronzeville, visit Ragdale in Lake Forest, and even go as far afield as Milwaukee for museum and architecture tours.
Says Mari Harrer, the Associates' past chair, "There would be no way to measure the hours that Bonnie and her committee have spent on the special trips. Working out logistics was often very complicated, and she always checked out locations and places for lunch in advance. Bonnie has given generously to the Barrington community and has gone above and beyond every task she has taken on."
Bonnie has also worked to bring art to Barrington in another way; since 1984, she has promoted and worked on Art in the Barn at Good Shepherd Hospital. And she also sings with The Melodeers. This 150-member all-women chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, specializes in a cappella barbershop-style harmony and has won international championships five times.
Carol Nelson's nomination form notes that "Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeastern Illinois is very pleased to nominate Carol for this award; her kindness, her contagious energy and her endless smile have done so much to color her community with comfort and care."
These attributes, in fact, have helped many local organizations grow and flourish during Carol's years of service to the Barrington community -- from her work with Hospice to her service on PTO boards to Samaritan Counseling Center and to Barrington Suzuki Strings.
As a longtime Hospice supporter, she currently serves on the Foundation Board and chaired the community fundraising phase of the campaign to build the Pepper Family Hospice Home. She also serves on the Interior Planning and Landscaping Committee at the home and has been the honorary chair of the Hospice Duck Race.
Her nomination also notes that she's a lifelong learner. This year, she completed the two-day training for patient care hospice volunteers in order to learn more about palliative care and the inpatient units in Barrington and Woodstock; she encouraged all her fellow board members to do the same.
She has also worked for Barrington's Relay For Life, and this year, she and her husband, Dave, are honorary chairs of the event.
"She has been generous in sharing her professional skills in human resource management," her nomination notes. "Her business associates describe her as a woman of integrity, consistency and devotion."
As a lifelong resident of the Barrington area, Art Rice has devoted time and energy to improving the community's quality of life, says Cuba Township Supervisor Dave Nelson, who nominated him for this year's Hall of Fame.
Art has been a Cuba Township trustee for 15 years, and in that time has chaired a number of committees, including the Tax Review committee and the Senior Transportation Committee. This committee reviews the transportation needs of Barrington's seniors "in a thorough, but cost-effective, way," says Nelson.
The committee, working with Barrington Township, BACOA, and the Village of Barrington, has worked to maintain the PACE bus system, which provides transportation to seniors and disabled residents.
Aside from his township work, though, Nelson notes that Art runs an active business, Applied Technology Publications, and is an activist and promoter of open space and natural preservation in the area.
"Art has Cuba Township in his heart -- along with many other community organizations like Citizens for Conservation, the North Barrington Area Association and the Barrington Historical Society, since he has supported these organizations with his time and financing for a very long time.
"He has been a true servant of the community for his entire adult life. We owe him much gratitude."
"Connie Schofield, as village president, a village trustee, a board member of governmental district and community service organizations -- and in her personal life -- maintains a 'bring it on' attitude," says state Sen. Pamela Althoff, who, along with the Village of Lake Barrington, nominated Schofield for her service to the village as well as to regional governments.
Connie served as a Lake Barrington trustee from 1991 to 1997, and then served as village president from 1997 through 2005.
Notes Althoff: "Of Connie's numerous accomplishments, the most lasting was leading completion of the installation of the water and sewer system in the Pepper Road Business Park. This $7 million project modernized Lake Barrington's business park and laid the groundwork for future commercial investment, including Lake Barrington Woods."
During her tenure as village president, she also served on the board of the Barrington Area Council of Governments, including a year as chair in 1999-2000. While on the board, she oversaw the development and adoption of the update of the regional comprehensive plan that guides land use throughout the BACOG area. She was an active participant on the regional committee to address Route 59 transportation issues and served on the executive committee of the Northwest Municipal Conference.
She also served as a director on the board of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County during the 1990s and was named chair of the 40-member board from 1999-2004.
When she retired from village government -- or thought she had retired -- she joined BACOA's board in 2005. She has served on various committees; she's also become known for her very popular donation to BACOA's winetasting auction: 12 dozen homemade Christmas cookies. And in April 2009, Connie rejoined Lake Barrington's village board as a trustee.
"Connie Schofield represents the best of many generations in her service to local government community organizations," says Althoff. "She has shown the intensity and frugality of the postwar years, the creativity and independence of the '60s, and the technical savvy and efficiency of the new millennium. She has never been afraid of embracing new ideas in doing what is right for the community. She has managed short-term difficulty for long-term advancement with humor and respect for the opinions of others. "
"Don has always been an active 'in-service' person," says Barrington Township Supervisor Gene Dawson, who nominated Don to this year's Hall of Fame. As a high school student in Springfield, he owned a magazine and newspaper stand in the rotunda of the Illinois state capitol; and served in the Navy in World War II and in Korea.
When Don moved to Barrington in 1955, "he wasted no time in becoming active in his new community," notes Dawson. He joined the Barrington Jaycees and served as the group's secretary; he was part of the town's first Little League and was active in the Barrington Area Hockey League. He served as president of the Barrington Rotary and was active in the Youth Exchange program as well as many local and foreign interests of the Rotary for more than 30 years.
He and his wife, Faith, who was nominated to the Hall of Fame in 2001, worked to help bring Good Shepherd Hospital to Barrington and led the effort to sell bricks in the Wall of Life. He's also volunteered as an English-language tutor at Sunny Hill Elementary School, and is the longtime treasurer for FISH.
"Don has played an integral part in every organization and committee position he has undertaken," says Dawson. "He truly cares about his community and is always ready to do what he can and what is asked of him to make Barrington a better place for all who live here."
Ginger Underwood is on the board of Citizens for Conservation, which nominated her for the Hall of Fame. But her work in the area of conservation has contributed to many organizations throughout the region.
Perhaps her most notable achievement since turning 60 has been her leadership of the renaissance of Spring Creek Forest Preserve, says CFC's Peggy Simonson. In 2005, Ginger joined a group of conservationists, including CFC, Audubon-Chicago Region and Friends of the Forest Preserves, in a collaborative effort to restore this huge ecosystem. She successfully completed training to become a Cook County Master Steward and later was a founding board member of Friends of Spring Creek, which works to conserve and protect the 4,000-acre preserve. She is currently president of the group.
For the past two years at CFC, she has chaired the group's major fundraiser, the Native Plant Sale. This job requires months of preparation, ordering thousands of plants, organizing dozens of volunteers, coordinating pre-orders and managing the sale. This year, for the first time, she expanded the sale to two days.
She has also served for five years on the board of Friends of the Forest Preserves, the first Barrington-area representative to do so. She initiated and chaired their signature fundraiser, "Ignite the Night," which raises more than $12,000 for stewardship work in the preserves. She's active with Earth Day, writes a monthly column for the Riding Club of Barrington Hills, and is a trained seed collector for the Royal Botanic Gardens' Millennium Seed Bank Project in Kew, United Kingdom.
"Ginger works tirelessly, using her considerable organizational skills to manage huge projects," says Peggy Simonson. "She exhibits the rare combination of vision and big-picture thinking plus exceptional attention to details. Her personality is a combination of cheerfulness and seriousness of purpose that makes her a delight to work with and keeps people willing to contribute on her teams. She chooses important causes and accomplishes much."