In memory of a lost time and friendship

  • Tobin Fraley

    Tobin Fraley

Updated 2/24/2020 10:48 AM

By Tobin Fraley

Guest columnist


My wife called me on a recent morning to inform me that Lisa Phillips passed away earlier in the week. I had not seen Lisa for a few years and wasn't even aware that she was ill, so the news came as quite a shock.

I can't say that Lisa was a good friend, but regardless, she had been a part of my life since 2003 when we served together on the Long Grove Plan Commission for five years.

During our tenure on the Plan Commission, we would agree on issues about half the time, sometimes arguing over minutia that, in retrospect, was not worth the aggravation, but seemed important at the time. Since then, we would stay in touch, seeing each other around town and at various events. Sometimes it would be when Lisa would shop at our store in Long Grove for various gifts, giving us a chance to catch up on life.

Her daughter was injured in a soccer accident and as a dedicated mother, she researched, made countless phone calls, found every way conceivable to help her daughter recover as best she could. This was the relentless and tenacious Lisa I had come to know.

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Both around town and on the Plan Commission, the one thing I could always count on was a passionate and vociferous response to almost any issue. There was no middle ground with Lisa. I can also be a rather stubborn person, and this mutual characteristic would, on occasion, lead to great frustration on both our parts.

My reason for writing this today is not as much a eulogy but as the marking of an era that seems to be passing us by. As noted, Lisa Phillips was an extremely passionate person who rarely held back her thoughts or opinions, yet even when I was on the other side of the fence from those opinions, I knew that we would always be OK with our differences. Regardless of how we felt about issues, we continued to communicate, mainly because we had a great mutual respect and we knew that we both loved our community.

In the world today, this kind of interaction is becoming rare. When people differ in their perspectives, it seems that the other person is written off and shut out. We turn our backs on those who hold a point of view that doesn't match our own. And when that happens, which it does way too often, we all lose. When Lisa and I were on the Plan Commission, there may have been one or two people in Long Grove who viewed me as unworthy of their time. Today, there are probably a dozen or more who hold me in contempt. I only mention this because I long for the days when Lisa and I could have a vehement disagreement and know that it was not personal, just a matter of seeing the world in differing ways, and that everything would be all right.

So I will miss Lisa, both as the good, kind person I knew and as an icon of a time when those who might otherwise find fault with one another, would instead, find friendship. We are all diminished by her passing.

Tobin Fraley, of Mundelein, is a photographer, co-founder of the Long Grove Arts & Music Council and a former Long Grove Plan Commission member.

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