Officers and Directors

The Grayslake Historical Society Board meets the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Heritage Center Community Room.

Charter Member Charlotte K. Renehan

has held every society office and is presently president

She brings many experiences to the board. She was born in Grayslake; she taught elementary school in Grayslake for forty years; she has researched and written books about Grayslake. These experiences help her fulfill the role of archivist/curator of the museum plus editing the Society newsletter. Charlotte has a Masters Degree in Education. In addition to involvement in our local society, she is a member of other local historical societies, a charter member of the Lake County Genealogical Society, a member of the Lake County Historical Alliance and a director of the Illinois State Historical Society. Charlotte enjoys doing genealogy, researching local history, exploring antique shops plus visiting museums and historic sites throughout the world. Her favorite artifact in the museum is the one-room school which is now the permanent gallery because, as she says, “It educated children over 130 years ago and is still educating people today.” When asked why she is involved in the Grayslake Historical Society, she answered, “I grew up in Grayslake, as did my father, and cherish its history. I enjoy researching genealogy, even other peopleʼs. Combining these two interests, the Grayslake Historical Society is a perfect fit”.

Connie Dunbar

Board Member

says that she has been a resident of Grayslake forever. Her long time residence brings much knowledge and experience to the Society. Connie joined the Society in 1993 and became a board member five years later. She serves on the exhibit committee, makes sure that flowers are placed in urns at the Grayslake Cemetery and that the Societyʼs memorial plaque is kept current. Connie has a Masters Degree and is a retired elementary school teacher. Her community involvement includes the Grayslake Exchangettes, the Friends of the Grayslake Area Public library and the Illinois Education Association Retired Teachers group. Connie relaxes by sharing time with friends, reading and then taking a pleasant walk. She joined the Society and volunteers for it because “I belong to Grayslake. Grayslake belongs to me.” Her favorite artifact is Wilbur, the 1954 fire truck.

Nancy Plotz Reed

Treasurer

is also a life-long resident of Grayslake. She has been a society member since 2006 and a board member since 2012. As a board member she serves as a docent, webmaster and a member of the refreshment committee. She attended Grayslake schools and then attended Barat College in Lake Forest where she obtained a BA in management and business. Nancy retired to become a full time homemaker in 2002. She previously worked in information technology at Allstate Insurance Company for twenty years. Board responsibilities are not new to Nancy as she served on the Hunters Ridge Homeowners Association Board for eleven years. Nancy enjoys an active life as she does gardening, golfing, biking and cross country skiing. Her favorite artifact in the museum is the speakers from the Grayslake Outdoor Theater. She says that they bring back childhood memories of wearing pajamas in the car, eating popcorn and falling asleep watching “Herbie, the Love Bug” stories. “When I give tours, there are usually some interesting stories about the Grayslake Outdoor.”

Chris Brenner

Board Member

moved to Grayslake in 1961. He grew up in New Jersey where he attended grade and high school. After obtaining a degree in journalism from Iowa State University, he found employment in Grayslake. He was a reporter, political editor and managing editor of the Grayslake Times published by Lakeland Newspapers for sixteen years. He was a reporter, copy editor and city editor for twenty six years at the Lake County News Sun in Waukegan. Chris is community minded. He is a current member and former president of the Grayslake Lions Club. He is active in PADS, a group providing shelter for the homeless. He joined the society in order to contribute to the community. As a board member, Chris works in the gift shop, oversees the societyʼs Grayslake Cemetery project, does newspaper and Patch publicity and is the liaison to the Grayslake Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In his spare time, Chris enjoys gardening, newspaper and magazine reading plus visiting his grandchildren. His favorite artifact in the museum is the horse-drawn kerosene wagon.

Jacquelyn (Jackie) D. Hansen

Secretary

grew up in Grayslake and her family has lived in the area since the early 1900s. She attended Grayslake schools and later graduated from Northwestern University and Evanston Hospital School of Nursing. She started her nursing career in Denver later returning to Illinois.  Nursing background has included assistant head nurse at Evanston Hospital, supervisor of a home health care agency, long term disability claims adjuster and systems manager for a managed care company. For the last 20 years she has been a case manager for the Department of Labor-Office of Worker’s Compensation Program and in 2000 started her own company, Quality Case Management, Inc.  In between nursing positions, Jackie worked in the technology field. She started as a training representative for one of the first hospital computer systems and was also manager of quality assurance for a hospital information company, radiology system manager, and manufacturing product control analyst. As a government contractor, she was project manager for systems contracts with the Department of Army, Defense and Navy which included locally, the US Military Entrance Processing Command at Great Lakes. Jackie returned to Grayslake in 2000 and resides in the house that was her grandparents’ and is across the street from where her mother was born in 1922. Her latest interest has been updating her home which has many fond memories from her childhood. This current time-consuming interest includes returning  flowers to her grandparent’s house after their being at her parents’ house. Even plants have a history in Grayslake!

Daniel I. Graham, Jr.

Board Member

is a  recurring participant in the Society’s annual Cemetery Walks who fancies himself an armchair historian.  Dan is a lifelong resident of Lake County, where his family settled from Vermont in 1855.  He is a great-grandson of Ray E. Paddock of Wauconda, who was first elected to the Illinois state senate in 1928 and served continuously for 24 years.  Dan’s grandfather, Robert, was a respected Grade A dairy farmer in Volo and an active member of the Lake County Farm Bureau.  Dan, a graduate of Grayslake Community High School, practices law in the Chicago office of Nicolaides Fink Thorpe Michaelides Sullivan LLP, where he is one of the firm’s founding partners.  Dan lives in Grayslake with his wife and two sons.  His favorite museum offerings are the photographs and artifacts on display in the museum’s award-winning Embracing Change: the Growth of Grayslake exhibit.  “The exhibit reminds us that, as much as Grayslake has changed over the years from its agricultural beginnings, it still retains its small town charms.”

 

Linda Willhite

Vice President

came to Grayslake from the Quad-city area in 2012 to be close to her grandchildren.  A retired high school English teacher and antique dealer, she lived on an 80-acre farm with a small orchard, many flowerbeds and acres of mowing.  She formerly ran a  pre-school in her dairy barn and served on her local school board.  Linda has served as a museum greeter, exhibit committee member and a program presenter.  Genealogy, research, and reading are three of her passions, and  she felt the historical society would be a place to meet people with like interests and also a place to keep busy.  Her favorite place in the museum is the archives as so many of Grayslake’s stories are stored there.

 

Ken Lenzen

Board Member

Adrijana Bisevac

Board Member

has lived in Grayslake since 1991.  She attended Woodview, Lakeview, Grayslake Middle School and Grayslake Community High School.  After completing her degree at Marquette University, Adrijana returned to Grayslake to work as a Social Studies teacher at Grayslake Central and has been there for the last ten years.  She presently teaches AP and Honors US History.  Adrijana became involved with the Grayslake Historical Society while working on the WWI Exhibit committee and loved it!  Adrijana and her Honors US History colleagues have worked closely with the Historical Society to craft a culminating research project for the course that is student-driven and inquiry-based.  The result has been a series of “Curious Grayslake” projects where students have both formulated and researched an individual topic/ question regarding Grayslake history and presented their answer/ findings in a documentary format.  Adrijana sincerely believes that local history is a vital facet to a strong history class curriculum and would like her students to build a tangible, meaningful, and lasting  connection to their community.