The village of Bartlett and Hanover Township are remembering the late Bill Tiknis and the many contributions he made to the community as both leader and servant.
The former mayor and township supervisor, who died last month at age 89, will be honored at a memorial service from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 6, at the Hanover Township Senior Center at 240 Route 59 in Bartlett, on the township campus that bears his name.
Today's Hanover Township supervisor, Brian McGuire, said it might take a new resident of the community some time to realize all it owes to Tiknis.
"Bill was instrumental in the starting of the (Bartlett) park district and the saving of the Bartlett Hills Golf Course," McGuire said.
At the time the village of Bartlett acquired the golf course, it was virtually unknown for municipalities to own such properties. And while Tiknis himself was normally the kind of person who would not have supported it, he realized it was the only way to save the open space from a home developer, McGuire said.
Not everything Tiknis did was necessarily popular at the time, but he had a knack for recognizing the impact of something 10 or 20 years down the road, McGuire said. One example was the purchase of the open space that now houses the township campus and senior center in Bartlett.
When Tiknis and his young family first moved to Bartlett in 1956, it was a town of only about 800 people.
He became a volunteer firefighter and served a decade as a village trustee before being elected to one term as mayor in 1977.
Tiknis strongly believed in preserving local history and established the culture in which the museum at Bartlett village hall has thrived, McGuire said. He also founded the Bartlett Chamber of Commerce and became a founding member of the Rotary club.
"Everyone who's been touched by a project of the Bartlett Rotary owes him a little debt," McGuire said. "For a long time he ran many of the fundraisers for the Bartlett Volunteer Fire Department."
One of Tiknis' most important contributions has been as a mentor to younger officials -- such as advising McGuire that it was better to figure out why the public disagreed with his position on an issue than be angered by it. He also established Hanover Township as a nonpartisan agency in which members of both political parties could work together harmoniously.
Tiknis and McGuire co-founded the Hanover Township Foundation, which recently bought a van for the food pantry's use.
McGuire said Tiknis' health never fully recovered from a stroke he suffered on Easter 2014.
"Nobody's perfect and neither was Bill Tiknis, but I believe when it comes to community service and citizenship, that's a piece we need a little more of," McGuire said. "He's a shining example."