Village mourns loss of ‘Queen of Buffalo Grove’

Grand Marshal “Mo” Welborn rides with her grandchildren, Alex and Katie, along Bernard Drive during the Buffalo Grove Days parade. Welborn, known as the “Queen of Buffalo Grove,” died Sunday. Daily Herald file

Marion Maureen “Mo” Welborn, known throughout the village as the “Queen of Buffalo Grove,” died Sunday at Northwest Community Hospital. She was 80.

Since moving to Buffalo Grove with her late husband of 47 years, Wrandell, known as Ranny, in the late 1960s, embodied the village’s spirit of volunteerism.

She served on the Buffalo Grove Days Committee for three decades, including five years as co-chair, and helped establish one of the event’s staples for residents with disabilities. She also was involved with the Buffalo Grove Rotary and the Buffalo Grove Lions/Lioness Club.

“She lived and breathed Buffalo Grove. She was passionate about the village,” said friend and fellow volunteer Alan Danenberg.

Later, as a lung cancer survivor, she was a top fundraiser for Lung Force and also supported the LUNGevity Foundation, a close-knit community of survivors and patients receiving treatment.

“She is the type of person that makes the community great,” former Buffalo Grove Village President Elliott Hartstein said.

Her family said Welborn was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and grew up in Detroit. She and Ranny, who died in 2010, moved to Skokie, but soon settled in Buffalo Grove.

“I think that they liked the hometown feel of what Buffalo Grove was at that time,” Welborn’s daughter, Kara, said.

Their home on Bernard Drive was right along the parade route for Buffalo Grove Days, making it a community magnet.

“She would have 40 to 50 people sitting on her lawn watching the parade,” remembered Karen Danenberg, Alan’s wife and Welborn’s longtime friend and another volunteer.

Welborn’s volunteer work earned her several honors, including the Melvin Jones Award from the Lions, the Bill Reid Community Service Award from Rotary, recognition from the village for 30 years of service and being chosen as the grand marshal of the Buffalo Grove Days parade.

“She was always a selfless person,” son Chris said. “She liked to be there for other people. She was an advocate of inclusion of everybody.”

He said she was especially devoted to people with special needs, recalling how she helped start a bowling league for the visually impaired.

“She liked being involved and being a leader. She would find a cause and throw herself into it 100%,” said Paulette Greenberg, longtime co-chair of the Buffalo Grove Days Committee. She called Welborn a mentor, having met her in the early 1990s when they were on the Buffalo Grove Days cleanup committee, which involved such duties as driving around in a golf cart at midnight and, with the aid of flashlights, picking up paper from the field.

“She had what we would call chutzpah,” Karen Danenberg said. “She wasn’t afraid of anyone and she would tell it like it was, and they all respected it.”

But Danenberg said Welborn also brought a sense of humor to her work. She remembered how a bad storm during Buffalo Grove Days one year shut down the fun and food event and forced everyone to shelter in the public works building.

“Everybody was down, and Mo and I wanted to bring up the levity. There were so many hot dogs leftover that we unwrapped the hot dogs, and we decided that for fun, we would have a weenie toss in the public works building,” Danenberg said.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.