Founding fathers and mothers

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By Ken Trainor

Staff writer

Former Hemingway Foundation executive director Scott Schwar recently sent us a small but significant correction which allows us to give credit where it's due:

"Thank you for the community prod to check in with Ginie Cassin during this endless winter and your kind words for her as one of our major community builders [Saying thanks to our stalwarts, Ken Trainor, Viewpoints, Feb. 26]. 

"You did mention Ginie's background with the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park (EHFOP), which ranks high among her other village endeavors. Listing her as a founder in 1983 is incorrect, however. 

"The foundation filed articles of incorporation on June 28, 1983 with Dwight Austin, Morris Buske, Jeanette Fields, Redd Griffin and Roy Hlavacek as the founding board of directors. Morris Buske's leadership of the Oak Park Bicentennial Commission led his efforts to establish the Hemingway Foundation and he was the first chairman. Richard Harsch and I joined the board in January 1984, which also included Sue Crist (a classmate of Ernest) and Dorothy Buske. 

"That summer of 1984 we held our first Hemingway Birthday Celebration with Jeanette Fields as chairperson. Redd succeeded Morris as chairman and I followed in 1987 serving as chairman until 1998. In the early 1990s, I asked Ginie, who was ending her career as village clerk, to join the Hemingway Foundation board. She became a tireless worker involved in several of our many outreaches. She succeeded me as chairman in 1998 when I took over our vacant executive director position to devote more time to the full range of Ernest Hemingway Centennial Birthday Celebration details [1999]. 

"We started planning this five years earlier as a community-wide celebration that included an international Hemingway scholars conference, the final Fiesta de Hemingway, the Moveable Feast festivities with area restaurants, recruiting and publicizing 25 community-wide organization tie-in activities to the celebration, finishing the birthplace restoration, opening the Picture Hemingway exhibit with the Smithsonian and special dinners and public relations activities, including hosting Hemingway's three sons for a July 21 tribute. 

"Ginie was key in these events as were many other others, including founding board members and many others who should somehow be named and not forgotten."

Thanks to Scott for that important summary, all of which gives us another chance to remind Oak Parkers to give Ginie Cassin a call (848-2815) or send a card (206 S. Grove), and also to mention that in April, Ginie will be a remarkable 90 years young.


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