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Article updated: 10/7/2013 11:06 AM

Lombard honors 2013 Senior of the Year


Lombard has named 100-year-old Claude Walton as Senior of the Year for 2013.

The village's community relations committee chooses recipients of the Senior of the Year award each year based on nominations from the community.

Claude and his wife, Darwin, have lived in Lombard since 1955 where they raised their two children, Claudette and John.

Claude was nominated for the Senior of the Year award by York Township Supervisor John W. Valle, who said the longtime Lombard resident "instructed and mentored countless individuals and should be recognized for his public spirited efforts to improve the quality of life in our community."

Claude was a member of the former York Center Co-op/Community since 1955. He was one of the first African-American students at the University of Colorado and the first University of Colorado athlete to earn all-American honors in any sport in 1936 with his specialty in discus throw, according to biographical information provided by Valle's office.

He served four years with the American Red Cross in World War II and served 50 years as an employee, and eventually associate superintendent, of the Chicago Park District.

Darwin Walton accepted the Senior of the Year award for her husband at the village's Senior Fair on Oct. 2. Darwin Walton said her husband was "honored" by the nomination and sent a sincere thanks to the village, Village President Keith Giagnorio and Valle for the nomination.

Lombard residents Darrel Haake and Jim Ilten also were nominated for Senior of the Year and were excellent candidates for the title, Community Relations Chairman Dan Whittington said.

Ilten is a retired pastor who provided prayers for the Rotary Club of Lombard and the Tri-Town YMCA board meetings. His nominator wrote Ilten "brings out the best in us all."

Haake was described in his nomination letter as an "amazing carpenter and gardener" and an enormous help to the Lombard Historical Society. He helped finished projects for the Carriage House and Sheldon Peck House and his "technical knowledge and can-do attitude make him a joy to be around," wrote his nominator.

"Mr. Haake and Mr. Ilten were excellent nominees for the Senior of the Year award," Whittington said. "Both men deserve praise for their accomplishments. We are proud to call them Lombard citizens."

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