Wheeling mourns former Village President Sheila Schultz

  • Former Wheeling Village President Sheila Schultz, left, poses with her daughter Kathy Ryg during a 2006 family trip to Ireland.

    Former Wheeling Village President Sheila Schultz, left, poses with her daughter Kathy Ryg during a 2006 family trip to Ireland. Courtesy of Kathy Ryg

 
 
Updated 5/29/2020 10:25 PM

Wheeling officials announced with sadness that former Village President Sheila Schultz died Friday.

"Sheila was the definition of what it means to be a public servant, dedicating decades of her life to many facets of community service," Village President Pat Horcher said in a statement. "She was a friend and an honorable representative of the people of the village of Wheeling."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A village resident for more than 65 years, Schultz was first elected as village trustee in 1979. She was elected as Wheeling's first female village president in 1981, a role she held for 16 years.

Officials Friday said that as a village leader, Schultz worked toward a more equitable environment for all residents, dedicating her focus to forming a human rights commission and a senior commission.

During her tenure, Wheeling also created its first senior center, joined first-of-their-kind joint municipal organizations the Northwest Water Commission and the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County, and constructed a new and modernized Metra train station to help residents more easily commute between the suburbs and the Chicago, officials said.

"In many ways, Sheila remains a cornerstone of our community, having led Wheeling through a number of pivotal decisions that continue to define the village -- including the purchase of Palwaukee Airport," Village Manager Jon Sfondilis said in a statement, referring to what's now called Chicago Executive Airport. "Her passion for the good of the community and her compassion for those in need will be sorely missed."

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Former Wheeling Village President Dean Argiris called Schultz "a fixture in this town" who remained involved in the village after she served as president.

"We didn't always agree, but I think one thing that Sheila Schultz and I always had was respect for one another, for the position that we held," he said.

Argiris, a funeral home assistant at Kolssak Funeral Home, said Schultz never missed a visitation or a wake for anyone in the community.

Schultz had the respect of other village leaders.

"She was a very special lady," former Buffalo Grove Village President Elliott Hartstein said. "She always had a smile on her face. She had an amazing disposition, and she was just so committed to her community and the things that she believed in."

In the last 18 months, Wheeling has lost three of its former village presidents: Bill Hein, Judy Abruscato and now Schultz.

Schultz is survived by a large family of sons, daughters, and grandchildren, including daughter Kathleen Ryg, the former state representative for Illinois' 59th District.

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