Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2009 Marigold Festival Grand Marshals: Larry & Willowdean Stone

Larry and Willowdean Stone came to Pekin in August of 1952. Larry began teaching History and American Government at Pekin Community High School, then became a counselor, followed by Principal of the West Campus. He retired from PCHS 36 years later and worked for 3 more years for the ISBE as a vocational coordinator. Larry is a member of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association and a member of the Tazewell County Retired Teachers Association, receiving the ‘Retired Teacher of the Year’ award in 2006.

In the early 50’s, he worked with Rev. Entwistle and Lester Foote in setting up a Civil Defense System for the City of Pekin (defense vs. a possible nuclear attack from the USSR). Larry also was on the committee to establish the first Group Home in Pekin. He started the Key Club within PCHS.

Larry has enjoyed serving on many committees and boards including: Tazewell County Branch of the American Cancer Society; Tazewell County Mental Health Board; Pekin Library Board for 17 years (President for 8); Pekin Kiwanis Club since 1974 (serving as President and Lt. Governor of Div. 20). He started the ‘Car Seat Distribution Program’ within Division 20, which remains a strong program today. Larry was awarded the ‘Hixson Fellowship Award’ by his club and Kiwanis International. Larry was an escort at the Pekin Hospital for five years and he and Willowdean were active member of the Douglas School PTA.

Larry is a life member of The American Legion (having served as a combat soldier in Patton’s Third Army during WWII). He is also a 32nd degree Mason and belongs to the Empire Lodge #126 in Pekin and to the Peoria Consistory. He is a member of the Pekin Park District’s Computer Club and an honorary member of the Pekin Altrusa Club. He has been the commencement speaker several times for Rankin and South Pekin Schools.

Larry has been involved in music most of his life. He sings in the church choir, and stepped out into the community by being a part of the Pekin Civic Chorus under the direction of Harry Langley and Don Valenti, often as a soloist. He and Willowdean are sponsors of the Pekin Community Concerts.

Willowdean has been a nurse for 40 years in many areas of the hospital including: Assistant Supervisor on a Surgical Unit and 2 years as a Nursing Care Manager in a Surgical Unit; Supervisor in Pediatrics at Pekin Hospital; and, she taught Nursing at St. Francis Hospital for 25 years.

She has been a Brownie and Girl Scout Leader serving on the Girl Scout Board and writing the weekly scout articles for the Pekin Times.

Willowdean actively participates with many organizations including: the Altrusa Club, being a member for 40 years (President and other offices and chairs); ANA/INA professional organizations (President, Treasurer and other offices); YWCA and Y-Reserves. Being very outgoing, Willowdean has tried to encourage others by helping people get their GED. She loved to read to the children at the Y Daycare, visit Nursing Homes and send cards to brighten their days. She has received the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award for Community Service’ in 2005 from the YWCA.

Willowdean’s church activities have been very close to her heart as well. She has been active in Church Women United (President and other offices), and was chosen ‘Valiant Woman’. She has been a part of providing a dinner a month at the Rust Transitional Center and started the ‘Angel Tree’ Program providing Christmas gifts to children who might not receive anything at all. She has received the ‘Mission Award of the Year’ at the local and district level in the United Methodist Church for her achievements.

Larry and Willowdean have been members of the Grace United Methodist Church since 1952 and have served on various committees ~ having chaired all of them at one time or another. Larry was the Director of Youth when they first joined the church. They have, and continue to, enjoy teaching Sunday School classes of all ages, Bible School and leading Bible Studies. Both have served as Certified Lay Speakers in the church as well.

Larry and Willowdean are both members of Friends of the Library. Willowdean served on their board and was Director of the Great Decisions Program with Larry being a presenter and discussion leader.

They are the parents of two daughters, Susan Stone-Yeck (deceased) and grandparents of her children Katherine Rose Stone-Yeck (18) of New York, and Addison Ferrill Stone-Yeck (23) of Staten Island, New York. Daughter Julia Ann Espe lives in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and is presently Assistant Superintendent of Education. Julia has three children, Gwendolyn Buchanan Miller (Jonathan) of New Jersey who has the Stones only Great-grandchild, Madelyne (5); Son James is an artist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and youngest daughter Elizabeth is finishing her Library training while working in the educational field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Needless to say, the Stones are very proud of their family, and Willowdean is traveling to New York for the graduation of Katherine Rose quite soon.

Individually or together, this couple has blessed our community in so many ways, and now they will serve as Grand Marshals of the 2009 Pekin Marigold Festival.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Festival Planning Continues

The Marigold Festival Committee continues to meet and make plans for this year's festival. The group of 20 volunteers has been meeting monthly since the conclusion of the 2008 festival. The frequency of meetings will begin to pick up as the festival draws near.

At the May meeting the committee approved Civic Collage contracts with American Association of University Women, Parkway Christian Church, Pekin Hospital League, and TAPS.

The committee also approved contacts with the following organizations for the Pekin Insurance Festive Food Court: Pekin First Church of God, PCHS Choral Parents, PCHS/JROTC Boosters, and the Kiwanis Club of Pekin.

The committee approved the following events: American Red Cross Blood Drive, Easter Seals Little Miss & Mr. Marigold Pageant, Parkside Athletics/Pekin Park District Sand Volleyball, Pekin Main Street Friday Night Family Fest, Ritchart Petting Zoo, and the Tazewel County Health Department Breast Feeding Tent.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jimmy Johns Marigold Bags Tourney Applications Available

Last year’s phenomenally successful Jimmy John’s Marigold Festival Bags Tournament is back for a 2nd year. The 2009 tournament will feature twice the number of teams (128) and twice the prize money. First prize is $1000. The tourney will be on Saturday, September 12th at Mineral Springs Park, Diamond #1. The first round begins at 12:00pm.

Bags is a game similar to horseshoes (without the possibility of brain damage), but played with corn bags and portable game boards.

The committee would like to thank the Pekin Community High School graphic arts class and teacher Steve Huey for designing the posters, entry forms, and newspaper advertising.

So enter early (it’s cheaper) and come out to beautiful Mineral Springs Park to enjoy the sun and fun of a first class Bags tournament.

Entry forms may be down loaded at www.pekin.net/Photos/MarigoldPix/BagsEntry09.pdf or you can go to the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce or your local Jimmy John’s to pick up an entry form

Monday, May 4, 2009

Miss Marigold Pageant Contestants Needed

The Miss Marigold Pageant is an opportunity for young women ages 17 to 21 to model, perform and compete for nearly $3,000 in scholarship money. The pageant is open to the first twelve applicants meeting the criteria. The criteria, rules and applications are available at the PCHS Principal's office or at the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce, 402 Court Street. Application deadline is June 15th. If you know a young lady who would be a good contestant, please nominate her. Download and complete the nomination form below and the Miss Marigold Pageant committee will contact her.

Nomination Form: http://www.pekin.net/Photos/MarigoldPix/09PageantNom.pdf