Lake County Board honors former member Carol Spielman
Former Lake County Board member Carol Spielman, who died last week at 92, was honored by the current board Tuesday morning.
Members from both political parties sang Spielman's praises during an impromptu memorial near the start of their monthly meeting, which was held remotely due to the COVID-19 crisis.
They talked about the work Spielman, a Highland Park Democrat, did for the county and the friendship she showed other board members during her tenure, which stretched from 1992 to 2008.
"She was a woman of great energy and integrity (who) really worked to bring people together," said board member Ann Maine, a Lincolnshire Republican.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Spielman relocated to Highland Park after marrying her husband, Carl.
As a county board member, Spielman worked to help create the North Shore Health Center, a facility in Highland Park run by the county's health department.
As a Lake County Forest Preserve District board member, Spielman was a strong advocate for the creation of the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy at the late statesman's home near Mettawa. She also championed the development of the Prairie Wolf Forest Preserve near Deerfield in the 1990s.
Maine said she fondly remembered Spielman while on a recent bike ride through the 435-acre preserve.
"Whenever I've ridden through there, I always think of Carol," Maine said. "I know how hard she worked to get that done."
Gurnee-area Republican Steve Carlson talked about how Spielman served as a mentor to him. He also recalled that Spielman advocated for community service representatives to help residents with questions about housing, health care and other services -- a precursor to the county's current 211 system.
On a lighter note, Carlson said Spielman is the reason there are benches along trails in Lake County's forest preserves.
"Every time you see a bench, think of Carol," Carlson said.
Waukegan Democrat Mary Ross Cunningham remembered the talks she and Spielman would share during long drives to Springfield on county business. Cunningham said it was Spielman who taught her that you can't like everybody in politics because everybody won't like you.
In addition to the county and forest preserve boards, Spielman served on the Lake County health board and the Stormwater Management Commission. Her worked earned her a Friends of the Chicago River Award and a Henry Horner Good Government Award.
In 2013, Spielman received Highland Park's annual Humanitarian Award, which recognizes residents who serve the community through education, philanthropy, volunteerism or other means.
Spielman's survivors include her husband, three children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Instead of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Har Shalom, 1954 First St., No. 367, Highland Park, IL, 60035.