Sherlynn Reid, the longtime head of the village’s Community Relations Department, has been involved in her community since she and her late husband, Henry, bought their home on Ridgeland Avenue during the tense, transitional 1960s. Over the years, she’s made a lot of friends, and most were on hand at the 19th Century Club last Friday night in the ballroom to celebrate her 70th birthday.

By coincidence, it was also the 70th birthday of her twin brother, Sherwood, who now lives in Portland, Ore. According to family lore, Sherlynn was born a full 2 1/2 hours after her brother, and, no, they weren’t expecting her. In fact, she was almost born after midnight, which would have given them the distinction of being twins born on separate days.

Many village notables were on hand, forcing Township Youth Services Director John Williams to quip, “If anything were to happen here tonight, there wouldn’t be another meeting in Oak Park for a month.”

But it wasn’t just the usual suspects in evidence. Sherlynn seems to belong to an amazing array of organizations and breakfast clubs, and every one was represented?#34;from her old First Tuesday group, dating back to the late 1960s, to Links, a group of African-American women from all over the western suburbs, including Diane and her husband, one of the first African-American couples to move into Naperville in 1973, when the mostly white population was only 22,000 (the town is up to 140,000, she said). Her husband worked for AT&T, which made their lawyers available free of charge should their black employees run into any problems relocating to white suburbs.

The evening may well have been the most integrated event in the history of Oak Park, a testament to Sherlynn’s legacy of bridge-building.

When we left, they were still dancing.

Taking a break, thanks to Lilly

How’d you like to get a grant of $44,000 to pay for a 3-month sabbatical from work? That’s what Grace Lutheran’s pastor, Rev. Bruce Modahl has to look forward to, thanks to the Lilly Endowment’s National Clergy Renewal Program, which, according to a recent Sun-Times article by religion reporter Cathleen Falsani, “seeks to strengthen Christian congregations by providing an opportunity for pastors to step away briefly from the persistent obligations of daily parish life.”

Modahl will travel to Italy with his wife, Jackie, then visit Lutheran churches and missions in Slovakia, Lithuania, Russia, Bangkok and Hong Kong, according to the article. He’ll reunite with his wife and two adult children in Sweden for a tour of family roots, followed by a month of R&R in New York City. Modahl, 54, has been pastor of Grace Lutheran for seven years.


The rest of the glory

The Sun-Times’ Media Mix page, meanwhile, notes that River Forest’s Paul Harvey will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom today from President Bush, along with 13 others. Harvey is quoted as saying, “The industry has been very generous over the years, but this … is set apart in a category all by itself.” Harvey’s daily radio show has been on the air since 1951.


Bowman blogs

And one more local reference from the Sun-Times this week: An article about senior citizens who blog contains a photo of Wednesday Journal columnist Jim Bowman on Oak Park Avenue. According to the article, Bowman, 73, doesn’t just vent his views in our Viewpoints section once a month. He currently has four Internet blogs up and running and once had eight. His four blogs focus respectively on village happenings, his own opinions about pretty much anything, religion, and feedback for Chicago newspapers. “It’s easy to start one,” he’s quoted as saying, “if you can connect dots.” The article describes him as a “former Jesuit priest and retired newspaperman.”

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