I was saddened to hear about the passing of Barbara Mullarkey. I came to know her back in the 1990s, when I sat on the board of commissioners for the Park District of Oak Park (1991-95). While running for the seat in 1991, one of my platforms as a candidate was to discontinue the use of herbicides in Oak Park parks. As a candidate, Barbara reached out to counsel me on the dangers of herbicides, including her objection to Round-Up, which has been identified as a carcinogen to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

After I was elected, one night at a park board meeting she attended, she saw something she didn’t like. She called me the next morning. She said, “Chris, I don’t know if you are aware, but that Diet Coke you were drinking at the meeting is toxic” (or something along those lines — she was not one to beat around the bush) and she ran through all of the side effects of aspertame. As she was running through the list, I realized I was experiencing some of the milder symptoms. I quit drinking Diet Coke (and all others) that day.

Her passion, her generous time and giving of knowledge is what I remember most about her. I am proud to be a recipient of her wisdom. Some could say she was responsible for saving lives. Some may say she was ahead of her time. But for me she was a giant in keeping a watchful eye on the citizens of Oak Park

Christine Comer Stannard

Former Park District commisioner

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