Arends' daughter succeeds her as Bartlett trustee

Updated 5/17/2017 8:36 PM
  • Kristina Gabrenya

    Kristina Gabrenya

  • T.L. Arends

    T.L. Arends

The daughter of late longtime Bartlett village trustee T.L. Arends will succeed her mother on the village board.

Dr. Kristina Gabrenya, an optometrist who owns Bartlett Vision in the village, accepted Village President Kevin Wallace's appointment to the board Tuesday.

While a bittersweet way of becoming a village trustee, Gabrenya said her mother's example had made it something she'd considered.

"I think with the amount of involvement I've had, it was sort of the trajectory I was on," Gabrenya said. "I would not have run while she was still on the board."

Wallace said that while it took some time and thought to get over Arends' passing, the solution to filling her seat ultimately became clear.

"We know that Kristina will be an excellent fit for this board position," Wallace said in a statement. "Not only does she have an exceptional record of professional and personal accomplishments, she has the same enthusiasm for serving our community that her mom always showed."

Arends died last month at the age of 69 after a long illness. She had served on the village board since 1991 after having spent a decade on the Bartlett Park District board of commissioners.

Gabrenya began her professional career in St. Louis before practicing in Chicago and ultimately opening Bartlett Vision in 2005. She said she was drawn back to the "small town" of 42,000 she'd grown to love as a child.

Gabrenya is active in many civic organizations including the Bartlett Rotary, Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bartlett Lions Club. Her mother was the first female member of the Bartlett Lions Club and had served as president of the chamber of commerce.

Gabrenya also has spent seven seasons coaching for Bartlett Park District Youth Soccer and is founder, chairwoman and race director of the Bartlett Lions Labor Day Dash.

Gabrenya will serve the remainder of her mother's term, through the spring of 2019, including chairing the board's building committee. She expects the experience will make her want to seek election at that time.

"I am like my mother, an incurable optimist in all aspects of my life," Gabrenya said.

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