Holiday Luncheon on Saturday, December 6, 2014 Our annual Holiday lunch will begin at Noon at McCormick & Schmick’s, 41 E. Chestnut St. (Chestnut & Rush). Lunch is $38 with your choice of four entrees; valet parking is available for $12. Click on Holiday Luncheon and make your reservations today. Contact Patti Ferguson with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Norma Neuswanger passed away suddenly at her home on September 4, 2014. She was a great friend to those of us who knew her well. She was funny, irreverent, considerate, independent, sharp-witted and smart. She always could find something to laugh about, even in the most trying of times or when you were feeling most “down.” She loved being teased by us and by our family members—she dished it out and got it back, all with good humor. She was thoughtful and helpful. She was a good listener, too; she was always there if you needed someone to share your troubles. And she offered good advice, sometimes whether you asked for it or not! Above all, Norma was a do-bee. The sidelines were not the place where Norma could be for long. She got involved. She participated. She worked. She cared. She loved and was loved. After Norma graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign she moved to Chicago to work as a medical technologist. Although we searched the newspaper archives and couldn’t find a reference, we’re sure that on the day that Norma arrived in Chicago, the Tribune headline read: “Small-Town Girl Takes Chicago by Storm.” She worked at some of the leading hospitals in the Chicago area—the University of Illinois Hospital, where she was the supervisor of the tissue typing laboratory, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Loyola University Hospital. Her profession required great attention to detail and following strict protocols in order to obtain reliable results. She had high standards and an exacting nature. These were skills that she would find useful as she participated in the various clubs and organizations to which she belonged through the years. Norma’s personal life was busy. As well as the Haute Couture Club, Norma was active in the Illinois Prairie Weavers Guild and Graue Mill and Museum. For the Guild, she served as president during 2011/2012 and 2013/2014. For Graue Mill, she was a volunteer demonstrating spinning and weaving to visitors and was a board member from 2007 to present. She had an appreciation for the past, which she remembered while moving forward. She loved the arts; she had yearly subscriptions to the Goodman Theatre and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She frequently took advantage of all that the Chicago area had to offer. Norma began her affiliation with the Haute Couture Club in the mid 1970’s when she began taking fur and English tailoring classes with Helen Barker at the Central YMCA Community College at its former downtown location. She became a club member after completing a tailored jacket in 1976; her commitment and dedication to the club never wavered through the years. And her decision to join the club resulted in lasting friendships with many of us. During Norma’s “sewing years” she would create beautifully tailored and finely sewn creations, which she would model—memorably—at the fashion shows. Everyone who knew her back then knows that while on the runway she had a knack for getting people to laugh at her antics. Though her garment sewing diminished over the years, her interest in the club and its future remained strong. She served as president for five years (1998-2000, 2006-2008, 2013-2014), chaired or co-chaired six fashion shows (1983, 1984, 1991, 1998, 2001 and 2002) and held various other board positions through the years. She also acted as the “starter” at our fashion shows—a thankless job having the responsibility of making sure the models were properly dressed, lined up in order of appearance and in a timely manner. Norma enjoyed traveling and in the last few years she visited relatives in downstate Illinois, Washington and Texas. She met with college friends each October and traveled annually to Morris, IL to meet with sewing friends. She was a voracious reader, especially mysteries, and recently had joined the Brookfield Library Book Club. She also liked to work on jigsaw puzzles—the more pieces, the better. We are blessed and proud to have had Norma as a friend. For Carol, she was always there to help with any family emergency and join in on holiday celebrations. For Dolores and Nancy, Norma was there helping in any way she could—especially when their parents were elderly and passed. For Priscilla, she was a listening post who dished advice with a shot of humor. We could never thank her enough for her many kindnesses and her generosity of spirit. The Club was blessed to have had Norma as a member. We will miss her.
Lovingly, Nancy Hirsch, Carol Lizzadro, Dolores Panek and Priscilla Porembski