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2004 Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2004 Hall of Fame Inductees are:

Labor Force - Shirley Brussell

Shirley Brussell, who won in the labor force category, is an asset to the aging network. She founded Operation ABLE in 1977, the first employment and training organization exclusively for older workers over the age of 55, which has created job opportunities for more than 100,000 workers. Today, the national ABLE Network is active in seven U.S. cities.

According to her nominator, Mrs. Brussell was instrumental in starting the aging network in suburban Cook County through her work with the South Suburban Council on Aging and the development of Suburban Area Agency on Aging. She currently sits on five boards: the University of Chicago Visiting Committee for the School of Social Service Administration, the International Music Foundation, the Chicago Center of Family Health, the Suburban Area Agency on Aging and the National Center on Women and Aging at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Mrs. Brussell was a delegate and workshop presenter to the third Global Conference on Aging in Durban, South Africa, and was also a delegate from Illinois to the White House Conference on Aging during the Clinton Administration. She has testified at many congressional committees and received awards from the Carter Administration as a guest and presenter on employment.

She has earned degrees and honors from colleges and universities in Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, District of Columbia and New York. Mrs. Brussell received her M.A. in her late 50's and still continues education courses to this day.

Community Service - Illinois State Senator Adeline Geo-Karis

Sen. Adeline Geo-Karis, co-winner in the community service category, is the first woman to hold a position of leadership and is the most senior woman currently serving in the Illinois Senate. She serves as the co-chair of the Senate Executive Appointments Committee and is a member of the Financial Institutions Committee, the Legislative Reference Bureau and is chair of the Senate Republican Task Force on Veterans.

Born in Tegeas, Greece, Sen. Geo-Karis attended Northwestern University and received her law degree from DePaul University in Chicago. She served as Lt. Commander with Top Secret Clearance in the U.S. Naval Reserves and now heads a law firm in her hometown of Zion, where she once served as mayor.

Community Service - Harold Wright

Harold Wright, co-winner in the community service category, has been a leader in volunteerism for nearly 40 years and has received 21 public recognition honors, including the Governor's Award for Unique Achievement.

Over the years, Mr. Wright has developed many programs, such as the first Letter Carrier Watch Program, which allows letter carriers to check on vulnerable citizens on their routes, the first Union Counselor Program and a program for the Boy Scouts annual Field Day Merit Badge event. He also created the first annual family food and toy drive for needy families by local letter carriers and helped create the Labor and Industry Museum in Belleville, where he served as president for six years and is currently the treasurer.

Mr. Wright has also served on countless boards, clubs, church functions, councils, committees and commissions. He currently serves on the Leadership Council Board, the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois Labor Management Committee and is a member of the Optimist Club of Belleville-Friend of Youth program.

Performance and Graphic Arts - Anatole Crane

Anatole Crane, a winner in the performing arts category, is retired from Quaker Oats in Barrington, where he worked as a microbiologist from 1959 to 1978. Over his lifetime, Mr. Crane has earned a Ph.D. in microbiology from Indiana University, an MBA from Northwestern and an M.S. and a B.S. from the University of Illinois.

For the past nine years, Mr. Crane has been a dedicated volunteer with Family Alliance, a comprehensive geriatric care center. He turned his own heartbreaking experience- his wife's long battle with Alzheimer's disease- into a commitment to encourage and provide support to other caregivers. He cared for his wife for 15 years until her death in November 2000.

Mr. Crane co-authored a book for caregivers entitled It Wasn't Supposed to be this Way: A Support Group in a Book for Dementia Caregivers, which will be in stores by spring 2005. He also writes articles for a variety of publications, including Caregivers Magazine, a Chicago-based magazine distributed in Illinois, newsletters for McHenry County Mental Health Board, Family Alliance and other not-for-profit organizations.

The nominator said this of Mr. Crane, "His outreach to caregivers, his guidance as President of Family Alliance's Board of directors, his commitment to seniors, and the sheer number of his volunteer hours, makes Anatole a worthy candidate to receive the Senior Illinois Hall of Fame award...Anatole is truly a hero to the seniors and caregivers to whom he lovingly responds, and to Family Alliance, through is leadership, insightfulness and vision."

Education - Lorraine Farr

Lorraine Farr is the winner in the education category. After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1938, Mrs. Farr accepted a first-grade teaching position at an elementary school in Cuba, Illinois. During the next 10 years, she and her husband had three children and she went back to college to take graduate courses in special education. She then accepted a teaching position in Canton where she set up a summer program for special needs children. Mrs. Farr also founded the Tri-County Workshop, a program that helps those with disabilities earn money and learn every day living skills, nearly 40 years ago.

Mrs. Farr retired from teaching in 1982, after 37 years. Her nomination noted that it was at this time that her husband passed away and she felt the need to stay involved in the community, so she accepted a position at Spoon River College to establish the college's Adult Literacy Project. This project expanded to the Illinois River Correctional Prison, where she taught reading and math to inmates until 2002.

The community of Canton asked for Mrs. Farr's help to organize the Canton churches' effort to help the needy. Mrs. Farr then started a local branch of Love Inc. ("Inc." stands for In the Name of Christ"), an organization that helps those in need, was appointed director and held that postion for the next 20 years. She recently retired as director, but still volunteers there. Love Inc. is now in 26 states and operates, with the help of volunteers, as a clearinghouse for requests and donations.

A member of Wesley United Methodist Church for over 60 years, Mrs. Farr served on the church's education board for 20 years and has taught Sunday School for more than 50 years.


For more information on the Senior Illinois Hall of Fame, contact the Illinois Department on Aging Senior HelpLine.