Photos: Thanks to Lil’s tireless efforts over the years, a garden was created at the Community Center this summer in honor of her recent retirement. It will forever be known as “Lil’s Garden” and adorned with a plaque. Courtesy Photo
by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Lil Adams, a 45-year Sugar Grove resident and long-time board member, manager and caretaker of the Sugar Grove Community House, is retiring from those responsibilities after 35 years of dedication.
Adams joined the Sugar Grove Township Board of Directors for the Community House in 1977. Upon retiring from her career with AT&T in 1989, Adams took over custodial duties for the building. Since then, she has managed the maintenance of the building, as well as scheduling and managing all the activities and events.
“I was going to do it until they found someone else,” she said.
The Sugar Grove Community House, built in 1929 for community events and township resident use, has been host to the Scouts, 4-H clubs, homeowners association meetings, youth basketball, soccer and other youth groups, men’s indoor basketball league, Rocky’s DoJo kick-boxing matches, Sugar Grove Fire District pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners, as well as aerobics classes, wedding receptions, showers, anniversary and birthday parties over the years.
“You name it; we’ve had it,” Community House Board President Stan Schumacher said. “Without Lil’s assistance, there’s no way we could have functioned that well in that capacity. It wasn’t just a 9-5 job. Whenever she needed to be there, she was right there.”
Schumacher said that Adams was already on the board when he joined 26 years ago.
“I first met Lil and her husband Tom through the Sugar Grove Young Adults group,” he said. “You could tell her love for that building. She always kept it in tip-top clean shape. Her dedication was seven days a week. She was always right there to make sure people could get in and to lock up afterwards.”
Adams in 2011 was recognized by the village of Sugar Grove last year with the Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year Award. Adams received several nominations for Citizen of the Year from United Methodist Church, Sugar Grove Township, Conley Outreach and many of her close friends. The village also received numerous letters of support from local residents and businesses.
“I never dreamed they would do that (for) me. I had no idea I’d receive the award, even
though a lot of my friends were behind it all,” she said at the time. “It was a very well-kept secret.”
This spring, while Adams was on vacation, volunteers installed a water feature in front of the Community House in honor of her many years of service. During a dedication of the feature on Nov. 17, a plaque was also mounted on the front of the building so that future generations would know of Adams’ contributions. Native plantings complete the area now known as “Lil’s Garden.”
“That was so nice. It was such an honor,” Adams said. “People out here have been so good to me. I think I’ve been getting too much attention lately.”
Sugar Grove residents don’t see it that way.
“Lil’s a wonderful person, and she loves Sugar Grove,” Sugar Grove Chamber Executive Director Shari Baum said.
Baum said the business community and residents wanted to show how much they appreciate her dedication to the preservation of the building over the past 35 years.
In addition to the Community House, Adams’ community and volunteer work have included the school PTA, Sugar Grove Lions Club, Sugar Grove Election Board, Sugar Grove Corn Boil, as well as her roles with the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church. Adams has managed the church’s pie-baking efforts over the years for the annual Corn Boil, performed in the handbell choir, and served on various committees and boards.
Adams has been helping with the transition to the new custodians, and will serve on the board until next April. Then she said she is going to sit back and relax a bit more.
“It’s real soothing just to sit on the bench (outside the Community House) and listen to the water flow,” she said.
But Adams won’t sit still for too long. In addition to her church activities, she belongs to the Red Hat Ladies Club out of Oswego, goes to movies, and plays cards and dominos with her fellow club members.
“There are a lot of nice ladies in the group,” she said.
Of her years with the Community House, Adams said that it has been a great experience.
“I met a lot of nice people, had a lot of parties, big responsibilities and a “very, very nice board to work with,” she said.
When she joined the board, Dale Storck and Elaine Fox were trustees. Schumacher replaced Storck, and Jerry Murphy recently became a trustee.
“Our community owes a great deal of gratitude to Lil for everything she has done for them,” Schumacher said.