By Bob Uphues
The Riverside Township Board early next month will be unveiling a pair of plaques honoring the late Judy Baar Topinka and the late Schofield "Scuff" Gross inside the township hall at 27 Riverside Road in Riverside.
The township has invited the public to attend the dedications, which will be held separately, beginning with the one in honor of Gross, the longtime township assessor, on April 1 at 1 p.m. in the lobby of the township hall.
A lifelong Riverside resident, Gross served as the Riverside Township assessor for 40 years, from 1969 to 2009. He died at the age of 88 on July 4, 2016.
Last August, the Riverside Township Board voted to dedicate the third-floor assessor's office to Gross and commissioned a plaque in his honor, which will hang in the lobby near ones honoring other notable past township officials.
Township officials will convene again on Saturday, April 8 at 11 a.m. to unveil the plaque honoring Topinka, the longtime Riverside Township Republican Committeeman who served as a state representative, state senator and as Illinois' treasurer and comptroller between 1980 and her death on Dec. 10, 2014 at the age of 70.
The plaque dedication will take place in the second-floor auditorium of the township hall, which the township board voted to dedicate to Topinka's memory in July 2015.
Initially, Topinka's son, Joseph, asked the township board to consider renaming the township hall in his mother's name, but officials balked at the request. After voting to dedicate the auditorium in Topinka's name, her son asked officials to consider a more elaborate permanent display of artifacts related to Topinka's life of public service.
Township officials instead settled on the plaque, releasing funds to pay for it in March 2016.
The public is welcome to attend both plaque dedications. Refreshments will follow those dedication ceremonies.