Other Tidbits 2012 -2013 -2014

 News Tidbits

Little Tidbits from Newspapers that maybe you didn't read.

From the Kankakee Daily Journal

Published in The Daily Journal Feb. 4, 2012

With its quiet little main street and a handful of homes and churches, Cabery -- population 266 -- would seem to have no connection with the hoopla attached to the National Football League's Super Bowl set for Sunday night.  

Sure, some televisions there will be tuned into the worldwide spectacle, but at the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, they know the role the rugged Cabery All-Stars once played in the development of football in America.   

Along with contemporary players and legends of the game, the hall's photo archive even includes a photo of the 1924 Cabery team, a squad that shared that era with the nation's pioneers of pro football: The Decatur Staleys, who became the Chicago Bears, and the Canton Bulldogs, who became the Cleveland Browns.

"Remember: The Cabery team was never a member of the National Football League," said Saleem Choudhary, the hall's archive director. "But we know about the Cabery All-Stars."

And so does Paul Lovell, a retired Bradley developer, who grew up in nearby Emington and played football for Herscher High School. At 80, he remembers some of the names from those teams. He knows some of the team's fading folklore.

"It was said that George Halas [the founder and longtime owner and coach of the Bears] played a game for the All-Stars," Lovell said. "And, in return, one of Cabery's best players, Dockie Miller, played a game for [Halas'] Staleys.

"They say Dockie came back and told friends: There's only one boss on that team and it's George. They don't need me."

Lovell decided to do some research in the hall of fame's records and discovered the team dated back to 1910. It survived until 1934, and along the way, claimed the Illinois State Championship in 1925.

The information was placed in the hall through the efforts of John Boyle, a Chatsworth native living in Forth Worth, Texas, when he petitioned hall officials in 1978. According to those records, some of Cabery's most notable games were played against the prisoners at the Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet.

The Chicago Daily News covered the 1932 game and noted that "300 civilians and 3,000 prisoners witnessed the game, with all the trimmings of a college game, the band on parade and all of the customary yells."

The report noted that Cabery threatened to score several times -- taking the ball to the 1-foot line on one drive -- but this game ended in a 0-0 tie.

In league competition, the All-Stars were more productive scorers. Miller was an efficient passer and racked up big yardage, especially against teams such as Calumet City's Jaranowski Boosters, who built a reputation stopping the run.

Although they played for many years without team uniforms or even helmets, the All-Stars put on a show on the field and off. The roster included names like Elmer Brown, "Spud" Hendrix, John "Cotton" Kelly, William "Chunky" Sadler, and Orville "Belly-Button" Falter.

Over the years, 82 different players lined up for Cabery. And 50 of them returned for a team reunion in 1947. Quarterback and coach Miller would die just three years later.

"I remember that reunion. It was something," Lovell said. "I never saw them play, but I do remember when they would show the free outdoor movies in town, and I saw Miller kick field goals over the screen for fun.

"It was definitely a different time. But when folks watch the Super Bowl, they ought to know that there was a time when some of the best football players in the country were playing in Cabery." 

From the Blade
May 2, 2012
Chatsworth,Ill. -- Chatsworth Elementary has been selected by the Illinois State Board of Education as a 2011 Spotlight School for the seventh consecutive year. The Spotlight Award recognizes a high-poverty school where academic performance is closing the achievement gap. Chatsworth Elementary is one of 167 Spotlight Schools in Illinois earning honors this year. If you would like to learn more about the Illinois Honor Roll go to http://www.ilhonorroll.niu.edu 

Note: See Staff photo here.

From the Blade
May 2, 2012

Lucas Diller will attend Illinois Wesleyan University in the fall of 2012, where he plans to continue his football career. Diller was a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Prairie Central football program. He started in 30 consecutive games from 2009 to 2011. He also started on the defensive line, totaling 46 tackles. He was selected to play in the River Valley All Star game on June 16, 2012, at Olivet Nazarene University, and the Illinois Coaches Association Shriners All Star game on July 14, 2012, at Illinois Wesleyan University. 

Lucas Diller will attend Illinois Wesleyan University in the fall of 2012, where he plans to continue his football career. Diller was a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Prairie Central football program. He started in 30 consecutive games from 2009 to 2011. He also started on the defensive line, totaling 46 tackles. He was selected to play in the River Valley All Star game on June 16, 2012, at Olivet Nazarene University, and the Illinois Coaches Association Shriners All Star game on July 14, 2012, at Illinois Wesleyan University. 

Note:See photo here.

From the Blade
May 8, 2012

Chatsworth Elementary recently celebrated Earth Day. Activities included a school-wide “Kiddie Litter Walk” to pick up trash around the town. Books were read about Earth Day and the need to respect our environment. In a partnership with Homeshield Industries, the students decorated flower pots for the factory’s employees. A shade tree was also planted in honor of Robert Thomsen. Mr. Thomsen taught 23 years for the Chatsworth and Prairie Central School Districts. Mr. Thomsen was also a coach and a member of the selection committee for naming our new school District “Prairie Central”. 

Note:See photo here.

From the Blade

May 15, 2012

During the week of April 15 - 21, the Chatsworth Boys and Girls Club celebrated National Boys and Girls Club Week with theme days and activities. They celebrated smart choices on Thinker's Day Monday and conducted a community service project on Community Tuesday, where members assembled 20 care packages for elderly shut-ins in their community.
Note: See photo here

Chatsworth, Ill. —

Chatsworth’s annual Heritage Days will be held June 14 to 17, 2012. This year, lifelong resident of Chatsworth, Elery Perkins, is the grand marshal for the parade at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Perkins was born on Sept. 9, 1915 on a farm east of Chatsworth. He farmed in the Chatsworth area his entire life, retiring as a farmer in 1981.
He continued to work at various jobs in the community and finally retired at 95 as a crossing guard for Chatsworth Elementary School of the Prairie Central School District in 2011.

See Photo here.

From the Worthington, Minn. Daily Globe

July 29, 2012

WORTHINGTON — Tending to the soil and making a living from the land have been constants in the Perkins family lineage since Jerry Perkins’ grandfather moved to Nobles County in 1920 from his home in Illinois.

Yet for Jerry and his wife, Terry, a lot of what they learned about production agriculture came from their extensive travels — from working in the Peace Corps in the 1960s in Chile and Bolivia, to agricultural consulting in Costa Rica, Bolivia and Lithuania, and their involvement in sustainable farming associations after returning to the farm in 1974.

On Aug. 9, during a program at Minnesota’s agricultural expo, Farmfest, the Perkins will be among 76 families from across the state to be honored as a Farm Family of the Year. Local recognition will be Aug. 11, at approximately 4 p.m., in Olson Arena during the Nobles County Fair.

The Perkins family farm, located in Section 35, Elk Township, was settled by Gilbert Perkins in 1920, after he relocated here from Chatsworth, Ill.

“They hauled things up here by train,” Jerry said. “My grandmother came from a well-established, tree-lined street in Chatsworth. She planted flowers and a grape arbor here.”

After arriving on the land north of Worthington, the family resided on nearby farm sites until they could complete construction of outbuildings on their farm, said Jerry. The original house, built in 1923, was recently remodeled and is now home to the Perkins’ daughter, Julie, and her husband, Jorge, and children Ariana and Ben Lopez.

It’s the same home where Jerry grew up and developed a love for farming.

“There’s something about taking the boy off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy,” Jerry said. He and Terry settled there in 1974, after Jerry’s dad retired from farming. By then, the couple had experienced life in several countries and had been living in Montana, where Jerry worked as the Ag Extension Agent at Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.

“This is where we finally settled down,” he said, seated at the dining room table in the nearly 90-year-old farm house.

In the years since they returned to Nobles County, the Perkins have developed somewhat of a reputation for their interest in preservation and conservation of the soil.

“My dad got a chisel plow early on, but I think we probably got that (interest in conservation) by roaming around the country and overseas,” Jerry said.

“Carbon sequestration didn’t even have a name, I don’t think, when we started farming — or it didn’t get into the local dialogue,” Terry added.

Through practices of no-till and minimum tillage of the soil, the Perkins worked to build soil quality structure and increase organic matter — a process Jerry said is slow, but valuable. Today, they see very little wind erosion of the soil, and water erosion, while it does occur during heavy rains, isn’t as widespread.

Additional advantages of reduced or no tillage are less fuel and equipment use. One trade-off, however, is having a more management-intensive operation.

“It was quite a struggle until we got better herbicides and planters,” Jerry said.

When Jerry and Terry Perkins semi-retired eight years ago, they wanted to ensure the efforts taken on their land to preserve the soil would be continued. They could have rented their land to several different farmers in the area, but it was Tim Hansberger, who wanted to come back to the community and be involved in production agriculture, who said he would continue the no-till practice. Hansberger now farms 400 acres of the Perkins’ land, while Jerry and Terry maintain 112 acres of crop ground — “just enough to tie us down from wandering too much,” Jerry said with a laugh.

They also have about 100 acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve and Reinvest in Minnesota programs; and rent a 5-acre parcel to several local Hispanics for commercial vegetable production.

In their more than three decades in farming, the Perkins have been members of the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association. They also hosted, for a few years, a residue management training program for Minnesota employees of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. In addition, Terry has served on the Nobles County Extension Committee, was on the Council on Agriculture, Research Education and Training (CARET) and served on the advisory committee of the U of M’s Southwest Research and Outreach Center at Lamberton.

Meanwhile, Jerry served on Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Soil and Water Conservation District and Farm Connect boards.

“There was a lot of learning going on,” Jerry said. They also did some teaching, hosting individuals in the MAST (Minnesota Agricultural Student Trainee) program through the U of M for six years.

“We believe in unbiased education — university research,” Terry said.

“We wish there was more, and that it was better funded,” Jerry added.

Even as they look more toward retirement, they’re still concerned about the land and its sustainability for generations to come.

“We’re interested in food production,” Jerry said. “We don’t see ourselves much as farmers as food producers. We’re interested in sustainability.”

That thought process has continued on to the next generation, and while daughter Julie said her family isn’t as involved in farming, they still care about the land. She and Jorge both help with the operation when needed, and their kids help with the garden.

The Lopezes moved to Worthington in June 2004, six months after Julie’s brother, Mike, died. They were living in Milwaukee, Wis., at that time.

“Our family was in Mexico and in Minnesota and it was important for our kids to know their grandparents and form a bond,” Julie said. They settled on the Perkins family farm in 2005.



PEKIN, Ill. —From the Pekin Times
August 3, 2012

The Great Chatsworth Train Wreck of 1887 happened in Livingston County, not Tazewell County, so at first glance one might not think it was relevant to Tazewell County history. Nevertheless, the Pekin Public Library’s Local History Room has a file on the Great Chatsworth Train Wreck.

A look into that file will quickly reveal the local connection. The main item in the file is a photograph of the disaster that had been reprinted in 1927. The photo caption says, “Although it happened in 1887, all of 40 years ago, one need only say ‘Chatsworth wreck’ in this part of the country and everyone knows what is meant. This picture of the famous wreck belongs to Chris Ziebold, Sr., 1213 Henrietta street, Pekin.”

Notably, this photo was the basis for one of the engravings that illustrated the Harper’s Weekly account of the wreck in the issue dated Aug. 20, 1887.

However, besides the local connection of the photograph, the disaster itself, in which at least 80 people died and probably hundreds were injured, touched the lives of many people throughout central Illinois. The train’s passengers no doubt included residents of Tazewell County.

The wreck, which happened shortly before midnight on Aug. 10, 1887, has been ranked as either the second or third deadliest train disaster of the 19th century. The number of dead has been placed at between 81 and 85 (reports at the time estimated more than 100 dead) and the number of injured anywhere from 169 to 372.

On the evening of Aug. 10, a Toledo, Peoria & Western train pulled out of Peoria, heading east through Eureka and Chenoa on the way to Niagara Falls. The train included two steam engines, six fully loaded passenger cars, six sleeper cars and three cars for luggage (and perhaps more cars). Aboard the train were as many as 700 people who had been attracted by a special offer to visit the Falls.

At a point about three miles east of Chatsworth, the train began to accelerate down a slope and reached a speed of about 40 mph. At this point the train began to cross a wooden trestle bridge over a creek. The first engine made it over the bridge, which then collapsed behind it, causing the second engine to slam into the hill side. Most of the cars behind the engine telescoped into the second engine and each other.

One of the survivors, J.M. Tennery, was on the first sleeper, whose passengers escaped with only a fright or minor bruises. He said, “I got out in safety, and the scene presented to the eye and ear was one I wish I could forever efface from my memory.”

This photograph of the Great Chatsworth Train Wreck of 1887 was owned by the late Chris Ziebold of Pekin, and was used as the basis for an engraving that illustrated the Harper’s Weekly report on the wreck.

Retired teachers will visit Little School Museum

August 11, 2012
My Times-Streator
Officers of the Livingston County Retired Teachers Association are planing a Tuesday, Aug. 21, meeting in Chatsworth — for a step back in time.

Members are invited to visit the Little School Museum in CAPS Park on First Street. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with the program and meeting at 10 a.m. in the pavilion at the park.

The school is one of the few school museums in Illinois and is more than 100 years old. 

The school originally was built as a one-room schoolhouse in Chatsworth. As the school population grew, it was moved to the country and still was used as a school. After it moved to the country, it was attended mostly by children of workers in a sugar beet factory near Chatsworth, earning the name "Beet School."

In 1958, PTA members started the idea of restoring the Beet School. On April 17, 1971, the building was moved to its present location, and many fundraisers were conducted. The restored schoolhouse represents a community effort in the restoration project and was spearheaded by Louise Stoutemeyer and her committee.

At one time, the building was painted red, but in 2009, it was sided white.

At 11 a.m., following the program and meeting, a box lunch will be served in keeping with the theme of the day. Catering will be done from Vanilla Bean Catering, owned by Sandy Schrof. The cost will be $10.

Reservations are due by Tuesday, Aug. 14. To register, call Erma Hesterberg at 815-844-3456 or Alberta Kinate at 815-657-8381.

Home > Archives > Top Story Archives > Issue 610
yesterday,  10/18/2012 at 12:46pm

Father Richard Raney & SistersLegends of the Beach:
Father Richard Raney

Father Richard Raney, the beloved and respected chaplain for the sisters cloistered at the San Damiano Monastery on the grounds of the Church of the Ascension, has come a long way from his modest beginnings in Peoria, Illinois.

One day, a first-grader on his way to school, Raney heard the newsboys on every street corner hollering, 'Extra! Extra! The Kaiser has surrendered!' "We didn't have a radio in those days, so we didn't know about it until the paper came out.” When he got to school, he walked in and announced to the teacher and his classmates that the Kaiser had surrendered. His teacher took him around to all the classes and had him make the same announcement. "I got a big hand every time!” Raney recalls with amusement.

It was while Richard was attending Brothers of Mary high school that he got the first inkling about his ultimate vocation, and spoke with one of the Brothers about it. But his father made his wishes known.

"He said, 'No, wait until you've finished high school before you make that decision. Then, you can do what you want.' My father was a smart man.”

Ascension parishioner Jim Stevens, who has enjoyed a great friendship with Father Raney over the years, tells a story about the priest's high school years. "He was on the football team at Brothers of Mary, and one day his coach brought some of the boys to a game at Notre Dame, where they were introduced to the famous Knute Rockne. Well,” Jim says with a chuckle, "Knute shook Richard's hand, and he hasn't washed that hand since.” That Father Raney met Rockne is most definitely true; the rest is Stevens' humor.

After completing his post-graduate degree at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, Raney was ordained in 1938. His first assignment, as an assistant priest, took him to Bloomington, Illinois. "The church was huge, and we had no microphones, so Mass had to be said loud enough to reach the back pews.” This, he says, is where he developed his resonant voice. The parish high school needed an athletic director, and the job went to him. When World War II broke out, all the young men were being drafted, and the school lost all of its coaches. Father Raney stepped into that role as well. "It wasn't my real calling, but it needed to be done.”

Father Raney was in Bloomington until 1946, when he was assigned his own parish for the first time. "It was in Ottawa, Illinois. They were turning their high school into a coed, so they came to me to start their athletic program.” Five years later, doing something he had never done before, Father Raney asked for a specific parish. "My father had died, and I took my mother in to live with me. So I asked for a small parish and they gave me Chatsworth, Illinois.”

Father Raney says this was a good assignment for him, in this small town of 1,000 souls. "They had a small parish school. I was there twenty years. I knew everybody there. Then the bishop died, and the new one who took his place asked me one day, 'Do you want to stay in Chatsworth or do you want to go to work?'” This Raney relates with a wry chuckle. "The right answer was 'go to work'. We built Saints Peter and Paul Church and school, convent, and rectory. The Lord kept me humble. Every roof leaked!” Father Raney spent twenty years building the parish. But then, the largest parish in the diocese was open, and the bishop couldn't get anyone to take it. "So I took it. We didn't have to build anything, but we still had to raise funds.” After five years there, Father Raney says he was tired. "I was nearly 70 years old, and I wanted to retire.”

Former Illinois parishioner Jim Baldwin – a big baseball fan who was first drawn to our area so that he could go to the spring training games - and his wife Chris bought a place on Fort Myers Beach and in 1960, invited Father Raney to come for a visit.


On my first trip down, we stopped in a St. Xavier Church on McGregor Boulevard. There was no Catholic church on the beach at the time, and I wanted to offer Mass. The priest who answered the door at St. Xavier's was an old professor of mine! Of all the people in the world who could have come to the door...”.

One of Father Raney's earliest memories of those initial days on the beach is a ride in Jim Baldwin's boat. "Their house was quite close to the bridge, on the bay side. Jim gassed up the boat and instead of going back to his house; he went all the way around the island to get home. It was a beautiful trip, but I got sunburned.”

After twenty years of regular visits, Father Raney was invited to come live with the Baldwin's permanently, which he did. "Leonard Santini practically owned the island then,” Father Raney says, "and when he started subdividing his land, he donated the property where the Church of the Ascension is now. Mr. Santini built a home for retired priests, but that didn't work out.” By then, Bishop Nevins saw there was an empty building on the property. "He always said he wanted a house of prayer in his diocese, so he went to the east coast and invited the Poor Clare Sisters to come live here.”

In 1988, the first sisters came to take up residence at the San Damiano Monastery – in the building originally built to house retired priests. Sister Emmanuelle (who actually established the monastery and who passed away last year), Sister Mary Frances, Sister Mary Paschal and Sister Mary Seraphim were the first to arrive. Four more Sisters have come to live at the monastery since then – Sisters Marra, Anunciacion, Pilar and Esperanza.

"God sent Father Raney to us,” Sister Mary Frances says with quiet confidence. "When we first arrived, we had a priest on the east coast who was set to be our chaplain,” but he first had to make a trip to Ireland. "One day, Father Raney came to the monastery and asked if there was anything he could do for us, so we asked him if he would say Mass for us until our chaplain arrived, which he was happy to do.” But the priest slated for the job never contacted the Sisters again, and Father Raney became their chaplain, at the tender age of 75, the year he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood. That was 25 years ago.

When the Baldwin's passed away, they left their beach home on the north end of the island to Father Raney. "Every day I would drive up Estero Boulevard to come see the nuns.” But in May of last year, Father Raney moved into the monastery. "This is my home, here with the nuns.”

Sister Mary Frances says he still serves Mass for them every day, but he has needed some assistance from time to time. She says at 99 years old, soon to be 100, Father Raney has outlasted so many of his friends here. Says Father Raney, "Getting old is not for sissies.” Father now has a personal caregiver, Debbie Hashek, who comes to help him with meals and errands. "I just do what needs to be done,” she says with a smile.

Today, friends and family will gather to show Father Raney their love and support in celebration of this very special man as he begins his 100th year of life on earth. Bishop Frank Dewane will say Mass, and then those who have come together on this special day will treat their beloved priest and friend to an old-fashioned birthday party.

Happy Birthday Father Raney!

Jo List

Found on line May 2013:

Secretary of State delivers big check to Chatsworth Library

By Cynthia Grau
Posted Oct. 26, 2013

Chatsworth, Ill.
More than 100 Chatsworth Elementary School students were on hand to witness a check for a hefty amount presented to the
Chatsworth Township Library by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White Friday.
White, who also serves as state librarian, presented a check for $1,171,650 to the township library as part of the Public Library
Construction Act Grant. The grant will be used to build a new 6,675-square-foot library facility on a site formerly owned by the
Chatsworth school district.
The new library will help meet the demands of the library and its community as well as provide much needed accessibility to
persons with disabilities. The current was built in the 1890s and is not handicapped accessible. the building's location also
prevents extensive remodeling required to address space and accessibility needs.
"Public libraries are the cornerstones of our communities," white said. "Together with the funds generated locally, we are
ensuring that libraries, like the Chatsworth Township Library continue to fulfill the information needs of their patrons. 
This program allows my office to allocate as much as $50 million to libraries throughout Illinois."
With the help of the community, the library has been raising money since 2009, and has acquired approximately $400,000,
which fulfills the local cost share to receive the grant.
White presented the check to Library Director Mary Fisher-Miller and Library Board President Rodney Embry. Miller explained to
the children that the new library will be built closer to the school and all of the students will be on hand for the 
groundbreaking at the beginning of November. She also said that they would have the chance to help with the ceremonial
shoveling of the dirt.

See photo here.

Jim Tooley pauses to talk as he trims Brad Dunham's hair Tuesday in his shop at 214 SW Jefferson Ave. Dunham has been a customer for more than 40 years. Tooley is closing his shop, where he has been for almost 20 years, and ending a career that spanned decades.

  • Posted Nov. 26, 2013 @ 8:44 pm 

    Where others saw an alley, Jim Tooley spotted opportunity.
    Nearly 20 years ago, while looking to start a new barber shop, Tooley eyed an empty space Downtown just 9 feet across.
    "Perfect," he thought.
    "You're nuts," his wife said.
    Still, they bought the sliver of land at 214 SW Jefferson Ave., wedged between an old commercial building and a massive parking deck.
    There, he created perhaps Peoria's tiniest storefront, Tooley's Barber Shop.
    But after 45 years in the business, Tooley will give his final haircut Christmas Eve. After a six-year battle, cancer is forcing him to pack up his barber kit.
    "It's been good to me," Tooley, 67, says with a grin.
    He's had his hands in hair almost continuously since 1965. That's when the 19-year-old Chatsworth native trekked here to attend Peoria Barber College.
    Two years later, he hung out his shingle at the Commerce Bank Building, 416 Main St. On the fifth floor there, he did solid business, supporting wife Kay
    and two children.
    But after 26 years, Tooley decided to invest in another line of work. He doesn't much like to talk about what happened —
    "I gave up on Peoria for a year," he says with a heavy sigh — but things went sour fast. So, though clients had scattered to other hair-care options,
    he scrambled to get back into the trade and get his customers back.
    In 1994, rather than rent, he pondered a wisp of empty space between the old Jefferson Building, 331 Fulton St., and a parking deck on Southwest
    Jefferson Avenue. The space was just 9 feet wide but 56 feet long, which he bought for $3,000. Then he plowed $67,000 into constructing the shop,
    marked with a simple, blue "TOOLEY'S" over the door.
    He also somehow managed to erect Downtown's most distinct sign: A bulky, wooden barber pole jutting from the sidewalk out front.
    City Hall repeatedly told him it was illegal — you don't find too many obelisks sprouting in the public way — but it's remained in place nonetheless.
    Inside the shop, the set-up is efficient: three opera chairs, a small sofa and one barber chair. Tuesday, Peter Donis, former president of
    Caterpillar Inc., came in for his every-third-week stop. Though Donis, 89, lives in Far North Peoria, he doesn't mind making the journey Downtown
    to visit Tooley.
    "He goes a good job," Donis says. "Plus, he gives me the low-down on what's going on in Peoria."
    Tooley kids him, "Some of it's lies. I make up a lot of stuff."
    His patter lures in a steady stream of customers. Tooley takes walk-ins — $16 a cut — but does most of his cuts by appointment,
    which he scrawls in a lined notebook. From 7 a.m. to noon weekdays, he keeps the conversation flowing — an aspect of his appeal as important
    as his tonsorial handiwork.

    From the Paxton Record
    For the Paxton Record
    Thankfully, Milford Irwin didn’t make the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team in the 1930s. It could have made
    for some awkward moments around the Irwin household.
    After all, Milford’s wife of 73 years, Beryl, has always been a huge Chicago Cubs fan.
    The Cubs showed Beryl Irwin lots of love on May 2 — a day after her 100th birthday — as she was pictured
    in the AT&T Fan Photo of the Game, and her name was mentioned in the national television broadcast.
    And the Cubs won — twice — beating the rival Cardinals, of all teams, just one week after Wrigley Field
    turned 100.
    Oh, how her husband would have loved to see this.
    Milford Irwin, who died March 1, 2010, was always a Cubs baseball fan, too, even though he tried out for the
    Cardinals’ minor league teams more than 80 years ago. 
    Scouts were looking for the next Bob Feller, looking to recruit hard-throwing country kids.
    Beryl Irwin told stories about her husband as well as her own life during a five-hour gathering of family and
    friends held recently to celebrate her milestone birthday. The gathering was at the United Methodist Church
    in Chatsworth, where she continues to attend church regularly.
    Mrs. Irwin currently resides at Piper City Rehab and Living Center in Piper City. It’s a quick country trip away
    from where she grew up outside of Cropsey.
    A steady flow of visitors showed up to honor Mrs. Irwin, who remains active in church and community
    organizations. Even at 90 years old, she served as president of the United Methodist Women. She still
    attends United Methodist Women meetings and remains active in the Kitchen Band and Germanville Club,
    as well.
    “We always remember Beryl playing piano for Sunday school and church in Sunday mornings,” a member
    of Beryl’s church recalled at the gathering.
    Patty Hubley of Rockford, who has known Beryl for a long time, attended high school with Beryl’s daughter
    Betty Jane. Hubley said the Irwins “have always been such wonderful community-oriented people.”
    Milford and Beryl both wrote autobiographies of their lives. Their life stories were on display during the open
    “She remembers it all. Everyone’s birthday, anniversaries,” one of her children said.
    Mrs. Irwin worked at the Chatsworth Post Office for 16 years. She previously was a teacher at Miller Country
    School two miles outside of Cropsey from 1933-1936. Two of her daughters have been teachers.
    Beryl and Milford had six children: Kay (Harold) Lindley of Morton, Bette Jane (Bruce) Otto of Minier, Alan
    (Kathy) Irwin of Graham, N.C., Bill (Diane) Irwin of Oregon, Gary (Sue) Irwin of Galion, Ohio, and Colleen
    (Jim) Browning of Hudson. She has 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
    They shared some memories of their mother at the recent open house.“An excellent seamstress, she made most of my clothes
    growing up because I was so tall,” said Colleen
    "She made our clothes growing up, and one time she made a shirt with the United States on it,” said her son
    Alan Irwin.
    “I wore the shirt to school and had a quiz on the states that day, so I had to change my shirt that day
    because it had all the answers on it.”
    “Mom was always prepared when she entertained. She was the perfect entertainer because she handled
    gatherings so well,” her daughter Betty Jane Otto said.

    See Photo Here.

    May 25, 2014 The Pantagraph

    FAIRBURY — John Friedman takes pride in being the best at what he does.
    While serving in the Army in the Korean War in 1952, he volunteered for the job of flamethrower technician,
    the soldier who holds a mechanical incendiary device designed to project a long, controllable stream of fire.
    "A friend said to me, 'Are you nuts?' " said the 86-year-old Fairbury resident. "But I thought that sounded
    kind of interesting. Then they told me that when you climb that hill, they are all going to shoot at you
    because they are taught that a flame sends them to hell, but a bullet sends them to heaven."
    "I tell you, I was the best one south of the 38th parallel."
    Friedman will commemorate this Memorial Day like many others — attending Memorial Day events, visiting
    with his buddies, and probably, if anyone knows Friedman, laughing, joking, and playing a few pranks on
    He is one of seven brothers who were in the service, six in the Army, one in the Navy. An eighth, Glenn,
    started a family and became a successful mechanic.
    "He turned out fine," Friedman said. "The one we joke with is Alvin, the youngest, who went into the Navy
    and served on an aircraft carrier. We tell people that we established a family rule where every eighth
    brother has to go into the Navy."
    Life was tough growing up for John Friedman. At 12, as was more customary then, he started working as a
    hired hand. He was drafted six years later and went from a private in June to first sergeant a few months
    later. Five others were drafted and Richard, the next youngest of the brothers, volunteered.
    "I went to the draft board and they said it would probably be four or five years before they got around to
    me," Richard, who also lives in Fairbury, said. "I didn't want to get settled down and then get drafted so I just
    went ahead and did it."
    Richard, now 77, also served in Korea from 1957 to 1959 in medical supply three miles south of the
    Demilitarized Zone. He marks every Memorial Day by planting eight flags in his front yard — one for each
    brother, including Charles, of Normal, who died in April 2012. Charles served in the Korean War as a
    corporal and received the Bronze Service Star, United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense
    Service Medal.
    The other brothers included Harold, now deceased, and served in Germany; Robert, of Mesa, Ariz., who
    was in France; and Henry, of Fairbury, who served stateside.
    "I was the first to go to Korea," John Friedman said. "Charles and Richard went after I did. They always told
    me that they had to finish what I started."
    But they are all on the same page when it comes to remembering those who didn't make it back.
    "Memorial Day is a special day for all of us," Henry Friedman said. "It's tougher to get all of the family together,
    but we know what the day means for each of us. It's always special."
    The memories also will never fade for John Friedman. He enjoys showing off pictures he took while he
    served, and on display at the Livingston County War Museum is a picture of all seven brothers who were in
    the service.
    "I received a Bronze Star, but I really don't know why, because I didn't do as much as some other guys," he
    said. "I was called, so I went. But, I saw a lot and learned a lot. But over the years, I have made some great
    friends and have some great memories."