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IASB notes passing of former director Bess Eichelberger
March 6, 2009

Elizabeth "Bess" Eichelberger, a former member of IASB's Board of Directors, passed away Feb. 21, 2009, after a battle with cancer. She was 82.

A member of the Plainfield CCSD 202 board for nearly 26 years, Eichelberger will be remembered as an advocate for children and schools and for speaking her mind and her passion about both. Her dedication was recognized last August when the district's newest elementary school was named for her.

With her personality and work ethic, Michael D. Johnson, IASB executive director, said he thought of Bess Eichelberger as the Association's "First Lady."

Eichelberger served on the IASB Board of Directors, representing the Three Rivers division from 1990 to 2001.

"Bess Eichelberger was a true force for public education," added Mark C. Metzger, current IASB president and a board member in nearby Indian Prairie CUSD 204. "Her community rightfully celebrated her local legacy, but the truth is that IASB and children everywhere in Illinois are the lasting beneficiaries of her life's dedication to doing what was right for children and their needs. She taught us all what service truly is."

IASB immediate past president Marie Slater, a board member in Wheaton Warrenville CUSD 200, remembers Eichelberger as a "dear friend and a role model."

"The greatest tribute to Bess' many years of dedicated support of public education in the Plainfield school community and across the state of Illinois was having the ‘Bess Eichelberger Elementary School' dedicated in August 2008," Slater said. "On the way to her final resting place, her long funeral procession passed by the school where all of the students and staff stood outside in the rain to honor Bess' memory."

Born in Joliet, Eichelberger was a parishioner of St. Mary Immaculate Church of Plainfield all of her life. She worked for more than 30 years as a bookkeeper in a hardware store. As the mother of two, she was active in school organizations before earning a seat on the Plainfield CCSD 202 board in the mid-1970s and served as that board's first woman president.

In addition to her school activities, she was a member of the Plainfield Rotary, Seabee Vets Auxiliary of Illinois, United Way of Will County, Will County Project Pride, Plainfield YMCA Advisory board and the C.W. Avery Family YMCA Board, as well as serving as president of her church council.

In addition to having a school named for her, Eichelberger was the recipient of a state board of education "Those Who Excel Award" in 1992, the Joliet Junior College Distinguished Service Award in 1991, and the Roger Osman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service in 2005 from United Way of Will County.

Survivors include her son Edward (Nancy) Eichelberger of Plainfield and daughter Linda (Danny) Hulbert of Henderson, Nevada; a granddaughter, Christine Hulbert of Joliet; three brothers, Vince, George and Joe Monferdini; and her longtime companions, Kathy and Ron Kazmar. She was preceded in death by her husband, Edward, in 1976.

Memorials are directed to the C.W. Avery Family YMCA Scholarship Fund, 15120 Wallin Drive, Plainfield, Illinois 60544.

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