Former Arlington Heights trustee remembered as visionary, relationship builder
Former Arlington Heights Trustee Edith Jolly served during a period of great transformation in the village, yet she is being remembered for the relationships she built with the residents who elected her time and again to positions of leadership.
Jolly died in her sleep on Nov. 20, while visiting a daughter in Knoxville, Tennessee. She was 90.
Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes served with Jolly near the end of her three terms as trustee.
"Edie was among those visionaries who laid the foundation for what our downtown has become today," Hayes said. "She also ensured that Arlington Heights remained a family-oriented community of strong faith and values despite its size and growth."
Jolly was born in 1931 in New Jersey. Her father was a Presbyterian minister, and the family moved several times throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
She met her husband, Bob, when they attended the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, where Jolly earned a degree in social work. She worked as a social worker and as a teacher before the couple began having their four children.
The family moved to Arlington Heights in 1960, and Jolly quickly became involved in her children's school, joining the PTA and eventually serving as its president.
"One of my earliest memories was of my mother pulling me in a wagon while she went door to door collecting signatures," said her daughter Laura Mallette of Knoxville. "Whether it was for the new library, or a new pool or for Harper College, she loved meeting people and always felt what people did collectively made the community stronger."
Jolly's local involvement led her to run for a seat on the Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 board, where she would serve from 1973 to 1979, spending the 1978-1979 school year as board president.
She was elected to the village board with a conservative slate in 1979 and held her seat until May 1991, serving on the panel's finance, community service, internal procedures and legal committees.
One year later, when Trustee William Maki became a judge, it was Jolly who was appointed to fill his village board seat from December 1992 to April 1993.
Former Trustee Dwight Walton described Jolly as a "dedicated village trustee" who always came prepared and put residents at the forefront of every decision.
"Edie went out of her way to hear what neighbors were thinking about issues that affected their community," Walton said.
She was just as active with the local Republican Party. In 1989, near the end of her third village board term, she ran for state representative in the 54th District.
Marty Kraybill, a former District 25 board member who ran her campaign., said Jolly did not win election but remained upbeat.
"She was the type of person who would always go forward," Kraybill said, "and she was very positive in everything she did."
Services are planned for 11 a.m. Jan. 15 at First Presbyterian Church, 302 N. Dunton Ave. in Arlington Heights.