Search more than 1,000 interviews in more than a dozen oral history collections. Search by collection name or interviewee name.
Take me back to the Oral History landing page.
Tour of the Vachel Lindsay home given my site manager
Former Illinois Governor (1991-1999)
Illinois's governor from January, 1977 to January, 1991
Robert A. Abboud was an infantry lieutenant serving in Korea with the 1st Marine Division from 1952 to 1953, during the closing days of the war. Lieutenant Abboud saw action in the western sector of the frontline, specifically at the Hook, the Nevada Complex, the Three Fingers and Bunker Hill, and served with Lieutenant Allen Dulles, son of Eisenhower's CIA director.
Dr. Charles Abelmann, the Director of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, reviews the history of the school created in 1896 by John Dewey, as well as its current structure and operation. Dr. Abelmann provides insight on the school's current two campuses: PreK-Grade 2 and the original campus for Grades 3-12. He also discusses the school's philosophy and mission, the relationship with the University of Chicago, its many unique programs and course offerings, sports and activities, faculty selection, hands on student experiences, and student enrollment (around 2000 students).
Louis Acevedo discusses his long association with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and the Chicago Public League through his experiences as a high school athlete and a high school coach (soccer, basketball, and football) over a 33 year career. Louis talks about his own football career in the Chicago Public League as well as coaching football at two public league schools (Clemente and Marie Currie High Schools). He talks about the rich history of Chicago Public League football and the many players who went on to play Division I football and in the National Football League. He addresses the many challenges faced by the Chicago Public League programs, including budget issues, locating coaches, assistants and officials, stadium assignments, and fall teacher strikes.
Ray Ackerman recounts going to school on skates, scooter, bike and horse, coming home to milk cows, gather eggs and perform other chores. During the Depression, beef, hogs and chickens helped sustain the family. When his brother took over, Ray became a Civil Engineer, served in WWII, and became a Highway Engineer.
Ray Ackerman, the former legislative chairman for the Retired State Employees Association (RESA) discusses his involvement with Illinois's public employee pension legislation from 1984 through 1995. He elaborates on the 1989 legislation that set up a three percent cost of living increase every year, and Governor Jim Edgar's initiative in 1995 to set up a pension ramp to address the growing shortfall of funds in the five state pension systems. Ackerman also reflects on the attempts to fix the pension system in the 2010s.
Yvette Ackerman’s family moved often while she was growing up. She catered and managed a restaurant. After marrying John, they sought niche businesses to continue farming; they raise ornamental and canning pumpkins, gourds and chrysanthemums. She operates the gift shop on the farm and another in town.
Survival of small family farms by diversifying and developing niche markets.
Retired home economics teacher; foster parent
Cordell Addison grew up on a farm in Jackson County, Illinois and later enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps. In October 1941, he was drafted into the Army and served as a gunner in the Pacific Theater.
Find interviews in our other Oral History Collections that relate to Governor Thompson's Administration!
View photos of Illinois Community College Campuses and discover additional resources!
Find interviews in our other Oral History Collections that relate to the ERA Fight in Illinois!
Walter Ade was a German native who grew up in the Sudetenland during the Second World War. Both his father and older brother served in the German Army (Wehrmacht) during the war, and both were casualties of that war. In 1949 Walter's mother encouraged Walter to emigrate to the United States, but she stayed behind in the hope that her husband might still be alive and held by the Soviets. Walter emigrated to the United States and settled in Springfield. His father was indeed alive and was released by the Soviets in 1955.
Walter Ade, a German native who grew up in the Sudetenland, emmigrating to Illinois after the war. He served with the United States Army in Korea from January through December 1953. Ade was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regimental Combat Team, seeing action in the Punchbowl area and near Chorwon.
Coach Pete Alber discusses his experiences as the Dakota High School wresting coach and his involvement with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). He shares his memories from his own high school experiences as well as being a state winning wrestling coach at Dakota High School. The school‘s wrestling team has had great success over the years, winning five state titles and coming in third twice, especially from 2004-2007 and 2013-2016. Coach Alber discusses team scoring, for individual matches, and the basic rules for the sport which began as an IHSA activity in 1936.
John Alexander of Virden, Illinois, proprietor of the bookstore Books on the Square in Virden. Alexander was a vocal advocate for the consolidation of the Virden and Girard school districts, serving as chairman of the Committee of Ten, which examined the issue. A referendum was put to the public in April of 2009 and passed, eventually leading to the creation of the new North Mac school district.
Peggy Allan has spent her life in teaching in the Bond County, IL Community School District, specifically at Greenville Junior High School. In 1988 she was selected Illinois Teacher of the Year. Since then, she has served on many state committees in the field of Learning Standards, State Assessment, Writing Assessment, and Advance Illinois. Peggy discusses the implementation of the state's landmark educational legislation passed in 1985, how the reforms impacted her teaching, and the role teachers had in implementing the programs.
Gary Allen earned a bachelors and master's degree in Communication, then began a long career at community colleges, first at Kaskaskia Community College, then Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Illinois. He taught and then chaired the communication department at Southeastern, and also served as a long time forensic coach. In fact, the college renamed the forensic area in his honor in 2000. In the early 2000s he also began serving as a school trustee.
Steve Allen joined the Marine Corps in 1968. He served as an infantry officer in South Vietnam with C Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, completing his tour in the fall of 1970. Allen’s unit was based in Da Nang, South Vietnam. He says his faith as a Christian not only grew while he was in combat, but it helped keep himself and his men alive, and led him to a career as a counselor after the war.
Government worker, mechanic, YWCA volunteer, world traveler
Roger Amm discusses his thirty-three years as the choral director at Ottawa Township High School (OTHS), and his involvement with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) in its annual musucal competitions. He first began his experiences with IHSA music contests while he was a student at Pontiac Township High School, and then had decades of experience as the Choir Director at Ottawa Township, winning eighteen Division Sweepstakes while he directing the school's choir.
Dr. Karen Anderson has spent her life working as a teacher and administrator at colleges throughout the Midwest, and since 1999 has worked at the Illinois Community College Board, where she became its Executive Director in 2014. She gives insights into the administration of Illinois's large and diverse system of community colleges, as well as its history.
Dr. Richard Anderson, director of the Center For the Study of Reading at the University of Illinois, reviews the role the Center has played in reading research and teacher training over the course of forty years since the passage of the 1985 Education Reform Act. Dr. Anderson addresses the Center’s growth since the Reform Act, and the creation of several reading and literacy related programs including Reading Improvement Grants-grades 1-6, Language Arts Learning Goals and Assessments, Professional Education Training, Writing Assessment, Prekindergarten At-Risk grants, and teacher training.
Gerald 'Andy' Anderson fought with the fabled 1st Infantry Division (the Big Red One) from Sicily through the end of World War II. He landed in the second wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He was wounded twice, the first time during the battle for the German city of Aachen. He was evacuated to England, but rejoined the division during its fight in the Battle of the Bulge where it held the northern shoulder of the bulge despite repeated attacks. Andy insisted on staying with his unit when injured a second time, and after the war returned to the United States in September 1945. In 1949 he married Jo Hillman, the woman he had corresponded with throughout the war. In his later years he attended several D-Day reunions.
Jo Anderson worked on the implementation of Illinois's landmark 1985 Educational Reform Act, from the perspective of the Illinois Education Association, Illinois's primary teachers' union. Among the reforms he addressed were learning goals, assessments, alternatives to social promotion, principal/teacher evaluation, new school funding sources, kindergarten full day/prekindergarten, educational service centers, the Illinois Math Science Academy, Casimir Pulaski Day, staff development, testing of potential new teachers, school safety requirements, teacher compensation, modifications to the newly created Educational Labor Relations Board, and some Chicago reforms.
Richard Anderson was first elected to the College of Lake County (CLC) Board of Trustees in 1974 while he was a full time student, and has continued to serve on the Board thereafter. He has served as chairman of the CLC Board of Trustees for five terms, as well as serving as president of the Illinois Community College Trustee Association and the Northern Suburban Region. Richard shares his in-depth knowledge of the school's history, and discusses some of the issues the college has faced during his tenure.
Barbara (Bartlett) Archer was born in the 1930s and raised in Springfield, Illinois. Her memories of being a young girl during Barbara (Bartlett) Archer was born in the 1930s and raised in Springfield, Illinois. Her memories of being a young girl during WorldII give insight into the day to day life of those left at home during the war.
Dr. Towfig Arjmand is a retired anesthesiologist and an Iranian immigrant. He was born in 1929 in Kermanshah, Iran, and studied medicine in Iran until 1956, when he decided to move to the U.S. to further his medical studies on a student's visa. Dr. Arjmand elected to remain in the U.S. after completing his residency at St. John's Hospital (Springfield, IL) in 1961, and became a US citizen in 1968.
Mark Armstrong, the Kane (IL) County Supervisor of Assessments, reviews the property assessment process, and how that impacts the availability of funding for Illinois' public schools. Property taxes provide the majority of funding for local Illinois public schools. He covers the training requirements to be an assessor, the timetable for property assessments, and terms and processes used by local assessors. Armstrong also discusses the different types of property (commercial, industrial, residential, farmland, coal mines, minerals, etc), and the assessor's relationship with the local Boards of Review, county clerks and treasurers.
Wayne Arnold earned a bachelors and master's degree from Southern Illinois University, then joined the faculty of Mount Vernon High School, where he operated the school’s Community College program. When the campus was relocated and named Rend Lake College shortly after the passage of the Illinois Junior College Act of 1965, he joined the staff as a teacher in the Department of Health and Physical Education. In honor of his many years of service, the fitness center at Rend Lake College is now named after him. Wayne covers the transfer of the Junior College from Mount Vernon to Rend Lake in the interview.
Jason Artman discusses how Civics Education was being taught at Mendota High School prior to the state of Illinois's new civics requirement, and adjustments that were made since its adoption. He also reviews his role in training high school civics teachers, giving insights on ways to teach civics and develop service projects, deal with controversial topics, and present additional teaching resources that can be used in the classroom. Jason also gives an overview of the new state social studies standards.
John Ashby served as the interim Superintendent for Bluford/Webber, Illinois schools during a time when the district was considering a new school reorganization method, the Elementary Hybrid Method, which would combine the Bluford district with Farrington and Webber Townships. Although the Farrington school district voted down the referendum for elementary schools merging, all three schools approved the high school merger. Mr. Ashby discusses the challenges inherent in this new reorganization model, including non-uniform school boundaries, and a complicated taxing program.
Jean-Pierre Aubry, who has done extensive research on state and local pensions at Boston College's Center for Retirement Research, gives an outsider's perspective on Illinois's severe public sector pension crisis. He discusses his research on individual state and municipal pension plans. Aubry has published many articles on the issue, including on the impact of unfunded pension liabilities on big cities, defined benefit vs. defined contribution plans, cost of living allowance (COLA) reductions, and an overview of the largest 150 state and municipal pension systems.
Delbert Augsburger was a ball turret gunner in World War II. He was stationed in Bassingbourn, England and flew twenty-three missions as a gunner on a B-17, beginning in the fall of 1944. Augsburger was assigned to the 324th Squadron, part of the 8th Air Force.
Leslie Axelrod enlisted in the U.S. Navy in September 1950, and following Electronics Technician School, he was accepted into the Navy's Officer Candidate School at Newport, Rhode Island, receiving his commission in March, 1952. He began his active service on the USS Lewis, a destroyer escort that was stationed off the coast of North Korea supporting ROK Navy mine sweeping operations. In December 1952 the Lewis was hit by North Korean artillery, sustaining serious damage and loss of life. Axelrod finished his service on the USS Wilkinson, helping install electronic equipment on one of the navy's newest vessels.
Gregory Baise started as a volunteer for Jim Thompson in 1976, when Baise was just out of college and Thompson was running for Governor for the first time. Over the next fourteen years Baise served in the Thompson administration in a variety of capacities, first as the Governor's travel aid until 1979, then as his scheduler, and in 1981 as Thompson's Personnel Director, responsible for patronage hiring. In 1984 he managed Ronald Reagan's campaign in Illinois, and in 1985 Thompson appointed him as Director of the Illinois Department of Transportation.
In 1978 the Democratic Party selected Michael Bakalis, the young State Comptroller, to run for governor against 'Big' Jim Thompson, a popular young governor with just two years in office. Bakalis had become involved in Illinois Democratic politics in the late 1960s while he was a young faculty member at Northern Illinois University. In 1970 the Democratic Party slated him to run for Superintendent of Public Education, and he won after a spirited campaign. In 1976 he was elected as the State Comptroller. In 1978 Bakalis ran as a fiscal conservative and social moderate, but the race was more about image than issues, and he managed to pull only 40 percent of the vote against Thompson’s 59 percent.
Dr. Paul Baker, while overseeing the Educational Administration and Foundation at Illinois State from 1985 to 2001, helped conduct research on the Educational Reform Act of 1985. Being a participant in the research being done prior to 1985 in such areas as school effectiveness, essential schools, critical thinking, learning communities, and active learners, Dr. Baker then monitored and researched some of the Act’s many reforms.
Russell H. Baker is a Marine veteran of the Pacific theater. He was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, where he served in the unit's Intelligence section (S-2). Russell subsequently participated in the invasion of Guam.
Jearl 'Buck' Ballow was a member of Douglas MacArthur's GHQ staff in Tokyo from 1950 through 1953. Completing high school, he then returned to the Army in 1955, eventually becoming a Warrant Officer and CID agent in the mid-1960s. He was on the floor of the 1968 Democratic Convention, then was shipped to Okinawa, spending several years there fighting the island's drug epidemic.
In 1965, Ballow attended training to become an Army Criminal Investigator, and was subsequently commissioned as a Warrant Officer. In 1969, during the height of the Vietnam War, Ballow was transferred to Okinawa, Japan. While there, the Island commander put him in charge of fighting the growing drug problem then plaguing military forces on the island. Because of his effectiveness, the commander blocked several attempts to transfer Warrant Officer Ballow to Vietnam.
Jim Banovetz, Director Emeritus from Northern Illinois University’s Graduate Program in Public Administration and Center for Government Studies, discussed his involvement as a staffer in 1969 on the Illinois State Constitutional Convention, which was adopted in 1970. He discussed the Convention's deliberations on home rule for Illinois municipal governments as well as the delegates' discussion on the pension clause. Banovetz also discussed local government pensions, the relationship between pensions and public union collective bargaining, and the various efforts to deal with Illinois's pension problems since the mid 1990’s.
Senator Jason Barickman discusses his involvement with the effort to change Illinois's school funding formula. He discusses the legislative period from 2012 to 2019. He reviews the challenges in the previous school formula, including funding inequities, the cutbacks found in downstate schools due to the lack of revenue, the negative impact of pro-rating state aid for the neediest schools, and issues related to the state budget (or lack of one) including rising pension and Medicaid costs. He talks about how the new evidence based school funding model became the preferred choice for funding reform, which included support from grass root groups like Vision 20/20, as well as past and present school funding court cases, and various governor commissions.
At age 12-1/2 at interview time, Makenna Barker is a busy girl with her monthly 4-H group. This year she grew vegetables at her grandparents’ garden. She explained the necessary reports, but says weeding is the hardest part. Next year she plans a floral project.
In 2014 representatives from three ELCA Lutheran congregations in Springfield, Illinois, all with aging congregations and facing the loss of their minister, began discussions on the possibility of blending their three congregations into one. They agreed that the former Atonement Lutheran Church facility would be the location for the new church, but that was just the start of lengthy discussions. Mike Barker (Atonement Lutheran), Clair Edgecomb (Faith Lutheran) and Ron Krause (Luther Memorial) share their memories of the year-long process that eventually resolved all of the issues involved with combining three congregations into one. The end result was that a new congregation, Peace Lutheran Church, held its first service in September 2015.
Born January 12, 1930 in New York and raised in Massachusetts, Dr. Mildred Barnes was involved in sports before the establishment of interscholastic and intercollegiate athletics in the United States. Dr. Barnes coached at the high school and collegiate level, and served in various leadership capacities at the state, regional, and national level. She was involved in the transition from six to five player basketball for women, the 1975 Pan-Am Games and 1976 Olympic Games team selections as well as serving on the AIAW. Dr. Barnes was inducted into the Girls’ Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Bill Barnhart spent the bulk of his life as a journalist, first with the Chicago based 'City News Bureau,' then with the 'Suburban Tribune,' during the administration of Dan Walker from 1973 to 1976. For the last two years of the Walker administration, Barnhart worked as the paper's statehouse reporter in Springfield. Following that assignment, Barnhart went on to work as a business reporter and columnist, most of that with the Chicago 'Tribune.' See his complete interview at the 'Illinois Statecraft - Journalists' View' web page.
Bill Barnhart spent the bulk of his life as a journalist, first with the Chicago based 'City News Bureau,' then the 'Suburban Tribune,' and starting in 1979 with the 'Chicago Tribune,' where he wrote a daily column for the Business Section. He retired from the Trib in 2008. He has coauthored two books with former state legislator Gene Schlickman, the first on former Illinois governor Otto Kerner, who served from 1961 to 1968, the second on the legal career of Justice John Paul Stevens.
Barb Barrows discusses her involvement with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) through her experiences as a high school athlete, a high school coach (soccer, track, and softball), an IHSA gymnastics and badminton sports advisory member, and an athletic director at the newly created Neuqua Valley High School for over 20 years. Barrows details the challenges facing an athletic director moving into a brand new suburban high school with only freshmen and sophomores enrolled. She had to determine which sports should be offered, hire coaches, develop a budget, create team schedules, select uniforms, and organize parent/booster support groups. The high school program has now grown to over 28 sport teams. During her tenure the school's teams have earned 10 state championships and 178 team championships. The school's stadium was renamed after Barrows in honor of her dedication to Neuqua athletics.
Growing up in Hinsdale, Illinois, Ellyn played for one of the eight teams that competed in the first state tournaments for girl's basketball. After graduating college with a degree in history, Ellyn was an assistant basketball coach at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte from 1988 through 1994. After challenging the university about violations of Title IX, Ellyn and her partner moved to Macomb, Illinois. Throughout her career, Ellyn conducted twenty-six oral history interviews with coaches, players, administrators, and referees whose stories went hand in hand with Title IX.
Growing up in Hinsdale, Illinois, Ellyn Bartges played in the first Illinois State Girls Basketball Tournaments. After graduating college with a degree in history, Ellyn eventually landed an assistant basketball coach position at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte from 1988 through 1994. After challenging the university about violations of Title IX, Ellyn moved to Macomb, Illinois. While working on her master's degree, Ellyn conducted twenty-six oral history interviews with coaches, players, administrators, and referees about the birth of girls' basketball in Illinois and the impact of Title IX.
Dave Bartlett began his many years at South Suburban Community College in 1967 when the school was named Thornton Junior College and was located in Harvey, in south suburban Chicago. During his many years with the institution, he moved with the campus to South Holland in 1972, and saw the school's name change in 1988 to South Suburban Community College. He recounts much of the school's history during this interview.
In an attempt to avoid going straight to Vietnam during the war, Bartolotti signed up for the Marine Corps. However, once he completed basic training in San Diego, California, Bartolotti ended up flying straight to Da Nang, South Vietnam. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Division, 7th Regiment, 3rd Battalion. He shares stories about his rigorous training, his grenade-inflicted injury, and the immense culture shock he experienced not only after he landed in Vietnam for the first time, but when he finally came back home from the war as well.
Bob Bastas served with the U.S. Air Force as a personnel clerk in Korea from late 1952 through August 1953. Responsible for maintaining sensitive personnel files for the 1993 Airway and Air Communications Squadron at Kimpo Air Base, he shares his observations of U.S. and U.N. operations, American efforts to deliver propaganda over enemy lines, and the life of an enlisted airman during the war.
Jennie Battles began her working career as an English teacher at Dixon High School. When the family moved to Petersburg, Illinois in 1977, she worked for several years at Famous Barr in Springfield. In 1986 she joined the staff of the newly organized Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, starting as an interpreter at the Old State Capitol. She talks extensively about the Portrait of a Prairie Capitol theatrical production and the Living History Program, both at the Old State Capitol. In 2001 Jennie became the site manager for the Vachel Lindsay home in Springfield. and became synonymous with the historic home of Springfield's most renowned poet until her retirement in 2014.
Fluffy Baum discusses the history of the Bond County Pre-kindergarten, Parenting, and Birth-to-Three programs, which began as the result of a competitive state grant in 1989. Fluffy explains how these three programs began, covering school districts in Bond and Fayette Counties. Following a split between the two counties, Baum discussed the two Bond school districts of Mulberry Grove C.U. #1 and Bond County C.U. #2. She talks at length about the growth of the program from 40 children to 240 children, and its development over her many years of service.
Frederick H. Baumberger, born on the family farm, saw action in WWII then returned to farming. He was involved in farm and community organizations, radio reporting, raising Standard bred horses and served on the local Board of Education during a school consolidation.
Edith (Motzkus) Baumhardt was born in the Ruhr Valley of Germany in 1924 and came of age in Hitler's Germany while living in Cologne. Her father was a police officer and an administrator. Edith was forced to join the Hitler Youth, and survived the Allied bombing of Cologne. At the end of the war the family fled to the Allied lines. She immigrated to the United State in 1958, settling in Rochester, where she spent the rest of her life. She married Walter Baumhardt in 1967 and instantly became the step-mother of five young children. She held many positions, including translating and teaching German, but also French, Polish and English.
Harold Beard enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard prior to World War II, and in early 1941 was inducted into the active Army. He received training as a mechanic, and spent the last year of the war serving as a mechanic in an artillery unit in northern Europe. He experienced combat, and saw first hand the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp.
Dorothy Beck began her career in education at Blackhawk Community College in 1969, teaching English and Philosophy, the beginning of a long career. She eventually served as president of the Faculty Senate. Dorothy was selected to write a book on Blackhawk Community College as part of the school's 50th anniversary. Following her retirement she was elected as a School Trustee in 2011. Her interview covers the history of Moline Community College, which became Blackhawk College in 1961.
Dr. Frank Beck is a scholar at Illinois State University who has done extensive studies on school closure issue, examining the demographic, economic, and educational causes of school closure, the most important and leading trends leading to closure, the results of school closure, and what if any benefits may a closure cause a county, district, or community.
Peter Beckwith began a career in the Catholic Church when he was ordained at the age of twenty-five. In 1972 Beckwith began a dual career when he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Chaplain Corps of the U.S. Navy Reserve. He discusses these two aspects of his life, and the opportunities and challenges they posed. In 1995, Peter was selected for flag rank, a title which he held until his retirement from the Navy in 1999.
John Beechler was born too late for World War II, but got his chance and enlisted at the beginning of the Korean War. He received a lieutenant's commission in the Field Artillery, and arrived in Korea in January 1953, where he served with the 39th Field Artillery Battalion, part of the 3rd Infantry Division. He worked as a Forward Observer with a Greek unit, then was assigned to an American infantry unit stationed at Outpost Harry. On the night of April 24th Outpost Harry was overrun by the Chinese and LT Beechler was seriously wounded in hand to hand combat, an action for which he earned a Silver Star for gallantry.
Leonard Beetstra grew up on a dairy farm in rural Harvard, IL. He served in WWII, then returned to agriculture, first in buying and selling cattle, then operated a dairy and grain operation with his children. He discussed farming changes and school consolidations over his 60 years.
Lyle N. Behl, a former president of the Rochester Historical Presidential Society, was born in 1942 and grew up in Cotton Hill Township of Sangamon County, Illinois, where he continued to live at the time of the interview. Although Lyle is retired from a career as a medical technician, he runs a livestock operation on the family farm. Behl shares stories about his family and his insights on the Cascade area near Rochester, Illinois.
Kermit Bell was born and raised in Calhoun County, Illinois, and was drafted following graduation from high school in 1946. He attended the United States Military Academy from 1948 to 1952, and following further training as an artillery officer, his first assignment was in South Korea, immediately following the war. Follow-on assignments included tours at the Artillery School, in Germany, and at the East Tennessee State University ROTC program. He served as a deputy base commander in South Vietnam from 1967 to 1968, earning four Bronze Stars.
Taylor Bell discusses his involvement with Illinois high school sports while working at newspapers in Champaign-Urbana, St. Louis, and the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Sun-Times. Taylor highlights his efforts to promote high school sports via individual features, investigative reporting, detailed box scores, and having reporters attend more games. In addition, Taylor is the author of four books covering Illinois High School football and basketball through its greatest games, coaches, players, and schools.
'Tuck' Belton joined the Army Air Force in the summer of 1942, and after a rigorous training regimen, was piloting a B-17 on bombing raids in Germany by January, 1945. He was shot down over Holland while returning from his fifth mission, and spent the remainder of his war with the Dutch underground, assisting with missions while they eluded the Germans. He was finally smuggled out of enemy occupied territory in April, and soon returned to the states.
Coach Kevin Benages discusses his involvement with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) from the perspective of his own high school experiences, and especially as a coach at Naperville North High School, including for cross country, basketball, football, and lacrosse. Benages discusses the growth of lacrosse as a high school sport in Illinois, and how in 2018 it will have its first IHSA state championship. He reveals how Lacrosse made yearly steps from 2008 to 2018, advancing lacrosse as an approved sport.
This interview details the formation of the Williamsville Community Foundation and its relationship to the Williamsville Historical Library Museum, as well as the boxcars in which it was housed. Sarah Ann describes her work, including the most fulfilling and challenging aspects she experienced over the years. Sarah Ann has worked closely in all aspects of the history of Williamsville Historical Library Museum, from its conception in 1989, through its growth and finally to its merger into the Williamsville Public Library and Museum in 2013.
Norbern Bentele grew up on the family farm in Macon County, Missouri, and upon graduation from high school in 1950 worked for the railroad stringing telephone line next to the tracks. He joined the Army in 1952, and was assigned to the Signal Corps. He arrived in South Korea in the spring of 1953, just when the fighting along the front was heating up. Following the armistice in July, 1953, he helped train South Korean troops on signal skills, then returned to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri for the remainder of his tour.
Norbern Bentele grew up on the family farm in Macon County, Missouri. He talks extensively about farm life during the depths of the Depression, about getting an education in a one-room schoolhouse, and the large family's social life. Upon graduation from high school in 1950 he worked for a time for the railroad stringing telephone line next to the tracks. He joined the Army in 1952, and was soon headed to Korea.
Sue Bentz began working for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1971 and stayed there for the next thirty years. She experienced the name change to the Illinois State Board of Education, and was very active in the adoption and implementation of the landmark 1985 Education Reform Act. Her specific assignments included being an Assistant Superintendent in charge of Teacher Education and Certification, and Secretary to the State Teacher Certification Board. Sue talks about the 1985 act in great detail.
Clarence Berbaum served as a radio repairman for the United States Army during World War II. He was assigned to a communications unit in the 100th Infantry Division in the European Theater, where he performed radio repair, usually a few miles behind the front lines. The 100th Division was involved with the liberation of the Vosges mountain region of France in November, 1944. After the war ended in Europe, Berbaum’s unit began training in preparation for deployment to the Pacific Theatre until Japan surrendered. He discusses his reluctance to discuss his wartime experiences for many years after the war.
Jon and Jeanne Berg were American Lutheran missionaries in western Africa. From 1977 to 1979 in Jon and Jeanne were stationed in Poli (northern) Cameroon, and from 1985 through 1992 in Dakar, Senegal. While in Poli, Jeanne gave birth to two sons. They returned to the states (for a ministry in a Fairbury, Illinois) only after their home in Poli burned to the ground. During their ministry in Senegal, Jon helped start the Galle Nanondiral community center in Dakar, and Jeanne raised their three sons and worked as a teacher at the International School of Dakar.
Robert Berry served in the 187th Airborne Regiment in Korea. He was first deployed to Koje Do Island during the Communist prisoner uprising, then later was assigned to the Iron Triangle sector of the front line. Berry was later transferred to a battalion Intelligence Section, where he participated in reconnaissance patrols late in the war.
Illinois State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant discusses the 1985 Educational Reform Act from the perspective of her experiences as a school principal at Channahon Junior High School, as the Will County Regional Superintendent of Schools, and since 2012 as a State Senator serving Illinois's 49th Senate District. She reviews in detail the modifications made in the landmark 1985 legislation and its legacy 30 years later.
Arthur Betts, a World War II veteran serving in the European theater, and one of 2,221 blacks who served with white infantry units during and after the Battle of the Bulge.
Wayne Bevis discusses the history of Lindblom Math and Science Academy, founded in 1919, through its restructuring in 2005 and his involvement as a resident principal, assistant principal, and principal since 2008. Lindblom is a selective school serving some 1,365 students in grades 7 through 12. It is located in the West Englewood neighborhood of Chicago and emphasizes math, science, and technology. That focus translates into success for its graduates as they move on to college and the world beyond.
George Bickford became Manager of Fiscal Affairs for City Colleges of Chicago’s Overseas Program in 1974. The program served Military personnel at American overseas bases. Living outside Frankfurt, Germany over the next 21 years, he came to be the Executive Dean for the program. In 1995, he moved to Chicago to become Executive Director of City College’s military program. After the military program closed in the early 2000’s Mr. Bickford became Dean of Instruction at Harold Washington College.
Dr. John Bickford, a member of the Education faculty at Eastern Illinois University, discusses the preparation of elementary and middle school teachers using Illinois's new social studies standards, in particular, for civics education. He also explains the classroom experiences for those entering the teaching field, the importance of news literacy/current events, and the use of primary sources when teaching civic and other social studies classes.
Dr. LeRoy Biehl was raised on a farm in the Salem, Illinois area. He received a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Illinois, then practiced large animal veterinary medicine for many years. He then moved to the University of Illinois where he worked as the swine extension veterinarian, retiring in 1999.
Matt Bierman has extensive experience both at the University level as well as community schools, serving as the Director of Budget for Western Illinois University as well as the Board President for the Macomb Community Unit School District. From that perspective, he discusses the challenges facing Western Illinois University due to the budget crisis of 2015-16, and how questions on pensions and retirement impact university operations. Bierman also explores the difference between SURS and the retirement system used by Illinois school districts and the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).
Dick Biery helped implement the first girls’ basketball team at Carthage High School in Carthage, Illinois in the 1974-75 school year. He was also the team’s first head coach. He was a successful coach, taking his girls’ basketball team to the Illinois state Girls’ Basketball Tournament four times.
Jerry Binder discusses his involvement with the Whiteside Area Career Center (WACC) in Sterling, Illinois. He has served in several positions over his 23 years with the school, including the Sterling High School Principal, a Director of Human Resources and now the Director of Development at WACC. He discusses the history of the WACC, the state's first area vocational center, beginning in 1966. At that time, the Center served only Whiteside County school districts. Today, the school has 600-700 students enrolled in 12 different programs, and covers 19 school districts and 4 parochial schools in 5 counties-Bureau, Carroll, Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside.
Dale Bishop discusses his long involvement with Shawnee Community College, from its inception in 1969 to the end of the Twentieth Century. Prior to that he taught high school government and history at Unity High School in Mendon, Illinois and Egyptian High School in Tamms, Illinois, then moved to a new college-Shawnee Community College near Ullin, Illinois. From 1969 through 1999, he taught government and served as a Dean of Continuing Education and Academic Affairs at Shawnee Community College. After retirement, he served as an interim Dean for Student Services. At the time of the interview Dale was still active with Shawnee by serving on the Foundation Board.
Dr. Erin Bishop was head of Education Services with the IHPA at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from 2005 to 2009. She earned her bachelor's degree in history and French from Carroll College in Montana, then went on to work with the Lincoln Legal Papers from 1990 to 1993. After studying in Ireland and completing her master's degree and PhD, she returned to Springfield and accepted a position with the IHPA as a historic research specialist in 1997. Following the creation of the Presidential Library and Museum, she became head of the Education Division and was in charge of developing programs, exhibits, and resources for teachers and students.
Daniel Biss (D) is an Illinois State Senator from the 9th District. During his interview, Senator Biss reviews the Senate's deliberations beginning in 2011 on the state's severe pension shortfall, discussions that eventually led to the passage of Senate Bill 1 in 2013. As a member of the Senate Pension Committee and Governor Pat Quinn's Pension Committee, Senator Biss covers the legislative debate leading up to SB 1 and the status of pension reform following the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling in 2015 on the unconstitutional nature of the newly passed Law.
Stephen Black grew up on the family farm near Carrolton, graduated from college, served in Vietnam with the Army, then spent the next thirty years working for the Department of Agriculture. After retirement, he returned to the same farm that has been in the family for 180 years.
Timuel Black's teaching career began in the Chicago Public schools before he moved to the City Colleges of Chicago in 1969, initially working as a dean at Wright College. He was vice president at Olive-Harvey from 1971-1973; head of communications from 1973-1979, and then taught anthropology, sociology, and history at Loop College until his retirement in 1989. He discusses the impact of civil right efforts on City Colleges of Chicago students and faculty. He also discusses the political involvement of City College students.
unit landed at Normandy within days of D-Day
Timuel Black came of age in Chicago's Black Belt during the 1930s, and in 1943 was inducted into the U.S. Army. He received training in the segregated South, then was shipped with his unit to England; his Quartermaster unit landed at Normandy within days of the D-Day landings. He fought across France and in the Battle of the Bulge before witnessing the horrors of Buchenwald first hand. It was there he dedicated himself to working on civil rights issues.
Gene Blade was raised on a small west central Illinois farm during the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s. He spoke in detail about life on the farm, about the impact of World War II on farming, and about his life after graduation, splitting his time between farming and a factory job in Galesburg. He enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard in 1954, and then joined the Regular Army in 1956. See the rest of Gene's interview in the Veterans Remember project.
Gene Blade was raised on a small west central Illinois farm, and joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 1954. Two years later he enlisted in the Regular Army and served in an artillery unit in Hawaii before returning to Illinois and the family farm. Throughout the 1960s he owned a tire store and moved up through the Illinois National Guard, including a long tour as an artillery battery commander. By the late 1970s he became the Guard's first legislative liaison, and throughout the 1980s served as the United States Property and Fiscal Officer for the Illinois National Guard.
Dr. Doug Blair is a life-long educator and was a school superintendant when the Olympia, Illinois School District was created in 1967. He discusses the many issues of school consolidation and reorganization both as a participant, and as a career educator.
In 1948, Maybelle Blair, then of Redondo Beach, California, was recruited by a scout from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League to be a pitcher for the league. Pay was $55 per week, more than her father was making. She pitched for one season with the Peoria Redwings, but pulled a leg muscle during a game which sidelined her thereafter. The following season she played professional softball for the Chicago Cardinals, then gave up her sports career for an opportunity to work for the Northrop Corporation in California. After 37 years she retired from Northrop, one of their few woman managers.