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updated: 4/24/2014 12:05 AM

No matter her age, 'Dolly' Hein never quit working for Wheeling

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  • Ida "Dolly" Hein

    Ida "Dolly" Hein


Life story

Ida 'Dolly' Hein ~ 1919-2014

By Eileen O. Daday

Daily Herald correspondent

The village of Wheeling has lost one of its best ambassadors.

Ida "Dolly" Hein served on multiple village commissions and was known to a generation of children at the Wheeling Historical Society's Lollipop Lane celebration each December as Mrs. Claus.

She passed away Sunday from congestive heart failure, at the age of 95.

Hein was the mother of current Trustee Bill Hein, who followed his mother into public service, first as a volunteer firefighter, and then on the board of police and fire commissioners. He was appointed to the village board, and served as village president from 1977-1981.

"She was a great asset to the community," Hein said Wednesday. "We accomplished a lot together, she and I."

All three of her children held public office. Her son, Gordon "Butch" Hein, served for 22 years as a Mundelein Park District trustee, while her daughter, Rosemary Bartman currently is a Seneca Township trustee, near Marengo.

At the time of her passing, Hein was a sitting member of Wheeling's Senior Citizen Commission and its Historical Society. She also served on advisory committees for the Wheeling Park District and Wheeling's Pavilion Senior Center, plus Wheeling's AARP chapter and on its Women's Club and Garden Club boards.

"She liked to be in the middle of things," Bill Hein says. "She was a go-getter and people had faith in her."

Hein grew up in northern Wisconsin, but moved to Wheeling in 1955 with her husband, Gordon, and their three children, to care for his ailing father.

The couple soon started some area businesses, including a Mobile gas station on Dundee Road, a series of auto parts stores and in 1976 they purchased a restaurant, calling it Hein's Pub.

While Gordon Hein was busy running many of the businesses, his wife immersed herself in the community.

Some of her favorite projects included lobbying for the Wheeling Park District to purchase and renovate Chevy Chase Country Club, which it did in 1977. She also fought for the park district to build the Aquatic Center and Community Recreation Center, which park officials began in 1990 after buying 10 acres along Dundee Road.

Her activism in the village earned her the title of "Super Senior" in 2001, and grand marshal of the July Fourth parade.

One year later, Hein was invited to speak at the Wheeling High School graduation, and returned several more times to promote civic involvement.

Visitation will take place from 3-8 p.m. Friday at Kolssak Funeral Home, 189 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling.

A funeral Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, at St. Joseph the Worker Church, 181 W. Dundee Ave., Wheeling.

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