Fifteen years ago when they were living in Oak Park, Joe and Judy Scully were doing what they could to better the community. Fast forward to today, and the couple has taken their kindhearted efforts two hours east.
Married for 48 years, the couple now lives in their former summer home in Lakeside, Mich. After long careers in nursing and banking, the Scullys are making a foray into the entertainment industry. Just last month, they finalized a deal to buy a little art house movie theater in Three Oaks, Mich., called Vickers, saving it from possible closure.
“I just thought it would be good to give back,” said Joe Scully, 70. “We’ve had a very good life, been very successful, and this is kind of a give back for us.”
The couple lived in Oak Park for 30 years, between 1965 and 1995, before moving to the city and eventually Michigan. While here, they built a wealth of good will. Joe Scully worked for 20 years as chairman and CEO of St. Paul Federal Bank on North Avenue in Galewood (the institution was later taken over by Charter One). And here in Oak Park, he was a member of the village’s community relations commission and led the committee that oversaw the groundbreaking equity assurance program, which insured people’s property values against racial integration.
Judy Scully taught nursing at Loyola University for 25 years, still serves on the board for the school, and was involved in local parent-teacher organizations. They have five now-grown-up kids, who attended Oak Park schools.
Today, the retired couple likes to frequent a charming little 126-seat move theater in Three Oaks, just a quick 10-minute drive from their retirement home. Vickers Theatre has become a center in downtown Three Oaks, a community of about 1,800.
In 1994, Jon and Jennifer Vickers bought what was a dilapidated building, according to the New Buffalo Times, and “lovingly” restored it by June 1996 into the theater it is today. The Vickers family recently decided to relocate to Bloomington, Ind., where Bill Vickers was offered a new job at the University of Notre Dame.
So, the Vickers needed someone to keep the theater’s tradition alive. In comes Bill Lindblom of Lakeside, who owns an antique shop and is friends with the Scullys. The three consummated the deal over dinner.
Judy Scully said they had heard that the Vickers was up for sale, but never really considered buying it until Lindblom brought it up.
“We love movies, and we thought it would be fun, like a hobby,” Judy Scully said.
What they didn’t know, she said, was how much work it would be. Lindblom has been managing the theater, but Judy Scully has had to kick into overdrive, revamping the theater’s website, picking movies and e-mailing customers. Their top priority is finding a part-time projectionist as Lindblom is working seven days a week there.
“Our priority when the three of us sat down was, ‘The show would go on,'” she said. “We thought, whatever else happens, people are coming to the movies, there would always be a show and there would be no glitches. And I think people would definitely say that we got an ‘A’ on that.”