Ginie Cassin was a force of nature: a small, sweet and charming dynamo who was a force to be reckoned with. As she ended her many years of success as Oak Park Village Clerk, I met with Ginie, noted her trademark enthusiasm in milking a cow at one of our early Hemingway festivals and asked if she would join the Board of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park. In addition to serving as a great board member and then foundation chairman, she and her husband Bill and their family became good personal friends. Ginie shared her love of antiques with my wife Charlene, who also shared Bill’s dry humor regarding the many hours and escapades Ginie and I spent in foundation service. We enjoyed friendship with each other as well as with Hemingway family and many other legendary Oak Park movers and shakers of the era, often meeting around my basement ping pong table. We smiled and laughed and reminisced in each other’s company. We now join in honoring the love and legacy she left Oak Park, the Hemingway Foundation, and our lives. Heaven got a bright star but, Ginie, we will miss you dearly.
Scott and Charlene Schwar
I was so blessed to have worked with some amazing public servants while I was at the village. No one was more dedicated, classy and passionate about her beloved Oak Park, its residents and village employees than Ginie. I also remember how loving and caring she was about her husband and family. She set the public service bar so high for so many years. She will be dearly missed but never forgotten.
Former paralegal and risk manager,
village of Oak Park
Ginie cared passionately about the village. She worked tirelessly for the village, often calling her husband, Bill, to come pick her up as she worked long into the night. She had a strong moral compass, grounded on a strong religious faith. She was a loyal friend and confidante. She loved life and we all are better for knowing VRC. You may wonder why Ginie called her husband late into the night to pick her up. Ginie did not drive. For Ginie, being village clerk was more than a job; it was a calling. She loved her job and she loved the village. She made a difference. Her death is the end of an era.
Former Oak Park village attorney
Ellie and I were saddened by hearing this morning that Ginnie Cassin had died. What a wonderful life she had, married to a wonderful fellow, Bill Cassin, blessed with a big family, and playing such important roles in the community. She was the first woman village clerk and did a super job. She contributed to the restoration of the decorative plaque at Farson-Mills House when I was the chairman of the Park District Farson-Mills House Committee by purchasing a heavy plaster replica of the plaque which I hung in her office at village hall. Ellie taught one of her granddaughters, who lived with the Cassins, at Holmes School. Ginny came to the parent-teacher conferences, her usual empathetic self. We enjoyed being involved with the Cassins at the Hemingway Museum, which would not have happened without their tireless devotion to the project. She was a force and a treasure. She was always so willing to lend a hand and support a good cause. (Ellie and I are reminded of Elsie Jacobsen too, another community treasure.)
Ginie was so very sweet to me when I came to the Hemingway House as the Writer-in-Residence, encouraging me to take to the house as my house, to savor its traditions and to linger in its rooms. She believed in the house's importance and importance of encouraging art, of all kinds, through the home's unique place in literary history. I will always be grateful for her kind and sincere support.
David W. Berner
Hemingway Foundation board member, 2017-2019
Virginia (Ginie) Cassin was an undeniable force of nature in Oak Park. I drove her in the front seat of a convertible in the July 4th Parade for several years — she had as many shout-outs as our Ernest Hemingway look-alike perched on the deck behind her. Seems she knew everyone and they knew her.
Her years as chair of the Hemingway Foundation and as a longtime board member, led the organization to new heights with the restoration of the Birthplace Home, reaching visitors from here and abroad and attracting students, young writers, artists, musicians, scholars and many others to an array of public programs, in all the arts — very much in the Hemingway family tradition.
She will be remembered for her dedication to the village of Oak Park, as its longtime clerk, and for her tireless energy to make things better for all who live and work here.
John W. Berry
Chairman, Ernest Hemingway
Foundation of Oak Park
School of Information Studies