Longtime Lyons School District 103 school board member Joanne Schaeffer is recovering from open heart surgery. 

Schaeffer, 79, underwent open heart surgery on Oct. 24 at Adventist LaGrange Memorial Hospital to correct aortic valve stenosis, which is narrowing of the aortic valve caused by a buildup of calcium. Surgeons replaced Schaeffer’s aortic valve

Schaeffer, a resident of Lyons, is still hospitalized but was moved out of intensive care on the evening of Oct. 28. She took her first steps since the operation on Monday.

“It really knocks the heck out of you, but what can you do?” a tired and somewhat weak-sounding Schaeffer told the Landmark in a brief telephone interview from her hospital bed Monday evening.

Schaeffer, who has served on the District 103 school board for approximately 40 years, says that she still plans on running for re-election next spring.

Schaeffer’s seat on the board is up this spring as are seats currently held by Michael Bennett, Jorge Torres and Colleen Shipbaugh. 

Bennett, Torres, and Shipbaugh were elected in 2015 with the support of Lyons Village President Christopher Getty. If Getty-backed candidates win all four seats in the April 2019 election, they would regain control of the school board.

School board candidates will file for places on the ballot in December.

Schaeffer said that she expects to be out of the hospital in a week or so and said that she hopes to return to school board meetings in December.