North Riverside resident Vera Lynch celebrated her 100th birthday on April 12 along with dozens of friends and family members who gathered for a party two days before the big day at her home.

Her nephew, George Indelli, said that Lynch was a poet, ballroom dancer and expert bridge league player “who was also an accomplished business pioneer in the world of Chicago fashion.”

She grew up in an Italian-American neighborhood (her maiden name is Indelli, as well) and she worked at Marshall Field’s for 45 years, parlaying a seasonal job during Christmas vacations during college into a career as a fashion merchandiser/buyer, which required her to travel extensively by train for her job.

In 1962, Lynch accepted the position of acting store manager for the opening of what became the department store’s west suburban flagship store in Oakbrook Mall.

According to Indelli, Lynch credits her long life, independence and happiness to “a healthy diet, exercise, her strong Catholic faith and a wonderful, caring network of friends.”

Well-wishers supplied Lynch with plenty of cards, flowers and gifts, said Indelli.

“As usual, she was the life of the party,” Indelli said of his aunt.

LTHS teachers recognized

Three Lyons Township High School faculty members were named Educator Award recipients at the Illinois Directors of Student Activities annual recognition banquet.

Physical education teacher Jason Brauer received the Community Educator Award, Latin teacher and Latin Club sponsor Laurie Jolicoeur received the Distinguished Service Award and English teacher and Board Game Club sponsor Chris Schroeder was named Outstanding Activity Advisor.

Jennifer Bigenwald, a special education teacher at Lyons Township High School, was presented with the Western Springs VFW Post 10778 Teacher of the Year award. Bigenwald, who was chosen from among the district’s Vita Plena winners, began teaching at LTHS in 1994. She is a co-sponsor of the cheerleading squad.

I’d be honored

Brookfield resident Tony Ramos received the top honor for a professional in the private security industry from the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police at the group’s April 22 annual conference in Schaumburg.

Ramos received the 2016 Laurence P. Mulcrone Public Private Partnership Award, named for a retired Illinois State Police lieutenant colonel and former Elmhurst Police department officer who co-founded REM Management Services, a private security firm.

Ramos, president of firm Integra Security Alliance, was chosen for the award for his efforts to build bridges between municipal police departments and the private and corporate security industry. He serves as chairman of the police association’s public/private liaison committee.

Riverside detective
to head task force

Detective Sgt. Frank Lara has been appointed to be the lead detective for the Major Case Assistance Team (MCAT), a consortium of west suburban police departments who collaborate on major drug-related and violent crimes.

A 29-year veteran officer, Lara has served on the MCAT unit for several years and will lead the comprehensive investigative services for the task force, which includes Brookfield, Countryside, Forest View, Hodgkins, Indian Head Park, LaGrange, LaGrange Park, Lyons, McCook, North Riverside, Riverside, Stickney and Western Springs.

“The men and women that work in the MCAT unit are true professionals and all have one mission, and that is to provide consolidated investigations services to the communities we serve,’ Lara said in a press release.

Gold medal winner

Peter Boutsikakis, the co-owner of Riverside Foods in Riverside, can add the words “gold medal winner” to his resume after his Village Batch extra-virgin olive oil received a Best of Class Award at the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition in March.

More than 600 olive oils from all over the world, including Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and France were entered in the competition, which is the longest-running and most noteworthy judging panel in the U.S., according to Boutsikakis.

Village Batch, which is classified as a “delicate, early harvest” oil made from Manaki olives grown in Greece, won the Best of Class Gold Medal in the “Greece, Mono Cultivar” category.

On campus

Hauser Junior High School students Emily Kowal (8th Grade), Theo Moriarty (8th grade), James Berger (7th grade), Tess Obuchowski (7th grade) and Liam Mathews (Elementary) all qualified to participate in the National History Bee Finals from June 9 to 12 in Chicago.

The students qualified at the Chicago South Regional Final competition at Morgan Park Academy on April 5. 

Mathews finished as the Regional History Bee champion in the Elementary Division.

Brookfield resident Lauren Hettasch received her Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary math, cum laude, from DePaul University’s College of Education on April 1. Hettasch is a graduate of Riverside-Brookfield High School

Matthew Nutley, of Brookfield, was recently initiated into the honor society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society. Nutley is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama.

Moira Dunn, of Riverside, will perform in the Augustana College Theater Arts Department production of Sweeney Todd from April 29 to May 8 at the Potter Theater on the campus of the college, which is located in Rock Island.

Colleen Brown, of Brookfield; Monica Fiala and Kristen Santoro of North Riverside; and Anne Mitchell, of Riverside were named to the dean’s list at Augustana College (Rock Island) for the 2015-16 winter term for attaining a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4-point scale for the term.

Riverside-Brookfield High School students Thomson Catrambone and Marlena Roberto and Lyons Township High School student Isabelle DiPaolo were among six awarded Mary Wheeler Scholarships awards of $2,500 each by the West Suburban Teachers Union Local 571 of the American Federation of Teachers.

The scholarship is open to the children and grandchildren of union members and is named in honor of Mary Wheeler, a teacher at Proviso High School from 1924 to 1965.

Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park has announced its third quarter honor rolls. Among those named to the A Honor Roll (3.8+ GPA) were Brookfield residents Gloria Corona, Gina Crisanti, Christopher Jiang, Jeremy Kolasa, Braden Schneider, Brittany Schneider, David Sullivan and Sun Wu; North Riverside residents Guillermo Arroyo, Connor O’Neill and Danny Zontos; and Riverside residents Gregory Bernasek, Carlie Merola and Hana Sedivy.

Named to the B Honor Roll (3.33-3.79 GPA) were Brookfield residents Jocelyn Contini, Amber Li and Archer Wagner; North Riverside resident Samantha Escalante; and Riverside residents David Hertogs and Allyson Jones.