By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Senior Illinoisan Hall of Fame awards hosted by the Illinois Department on Aging.

The Hall of Fame program was created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1994 to honor Illinois residents 65 and older for their personal contributions and achievements in four separate categories. The four categories are Community Service to honor seniors who have shown support for general public and community-based programs; Education to recognize seniors who have shown a dedication to instruction and the world of academia; Labor Force to honor seniors who have a record of accomplishment in their employment or professional career; and Performance and Graphic Arts to recognize seniors who have shown a commitment to health and the promotion of well-being or have a record of accomplishment in artistic expression.

Past inductees into the Senior Illinoisan Hall of Fame include the following individuals:

Sister Jean from Loyola University and Lou Henson, Head Basketball Coach at the University of Illinois.

Theodore “Double Duty” Radcliff of Chicago, who helped propel the Negro League from obscurity to popularity. He was a colleague of Satchell Paige and Jackie Robinson and played with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle. He earned the nickname “Double Duty” after a writer saw him catch in the first game and pitch in the second game of a double header. Morgan Freeman narrated an Emmy-winning WGN documentary about his life.

Dr. Russell Dohner of Rushville, Illinois, who was still making house calls and seeing patients at the local hospital and nursing home until he retired at the age of 88. He was known to charge patients only $5 for a visit.

Edward Cook of Batavia, Illinois, who created intricately detailed miniature paintings that are considered rare masterpieces.

Louis Kibort of Edwardsville, Illinois, who taught square dancing, which has been declared the official dance of the State of Illinois, to people of all ages for almost 60 years. Louis and his wife were accomplished ballroom dancers. They also danced the polka, swing and jitterbug.

Walter Voyt of Plainfield, Illinois, who spent years studying how sunlight can cause skin cancer.

Anatole Crane of Barrington, Illinois, who co-authored a book for caregivers entitled “It Wasn’t Supposed to Be This Way: A Support Group in a Book for Dementia Caregivers.”

Eugene Verdu of Swansea, Illinois, who organized and administered a variety of programs and services for seniors in Madison, St. Clair, Monroe and Randolph Counties in Illinois.

Imogene Drawve, who was instrumental in convincing Catholic Charities to build St. Anne Residences, an affordable apartment complex for seniors in Beardstown, Illinois. Beardstown is where the first Supportive Living community in Illinois opened. Evergreen Place of Beardstown opened in the fall of 1999 and houses 26 apartments for adults 65 and older.

Patricia DiFiore of Zion, Illinois. She became involved with housing through the Council for Jewish Elderly, which led to her passion for the Illinois Supportive Living program. She is credited with the creation of the Barton Senior Living Residences on South Wood St. in Chicago. The Supportive Living community, which houses 139 apartments, opened in 2001. A second Barton Senior Residences opened in Zion in 2007.

Nominations for 2020 are being accepted through May 31. The winners will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during a special ceremony.

For more information and to access a nomination form, click here.

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