Fox Valley 25th Anniversary Celebration


Speech at 25th Anniversary Banquet

This page contains the remarks delivered at the
25th anniversary banquet of the Fox Valley Chapter
at the Wyndham Hotel in Lisle, Illinois
on November 5, 2006,
by James Liptrap,
Organizing President,
Fox Valley Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution.


Jim LiptrapGood Evening. I am Jim Liptrap, and I am the one who started this Chapter and then deserted it.

In the fall of 1980, I lived in Sandwich, and I had been active in CAR, in fact, I was serving as Senior State President at the time. And I had attended a few State SAR meetings, and was on the the Board of Managers. But there wasn't an SAR Chapter close enough to attend regularly. There seemed to be enough SAR members in the area, so I thought I'd see if there was enough interest to get a Chapter started.

The first meeting of the unnamed SAR Chapter was held on November 8, 1980, at the Fox Bend Dining Room in Oswego. State Senator Robert W. Mitchler was our speaker.

Five members met January 10, and chose the name Fox Valley Chapter, staked out a Territory from Elmhurst excluding Joliet to Ottawa to Dekalb, picked quarterly meeting dates for 1981, decided to sponsor High School Citizenship Awards, Children of the American Revolution, and if possible, R.O.T.C. awards. We had seven commitments of members and four applications being prepared. One of our first new members was Robert Baird. We met February 21 and May 16, and had a Family Picnic at Pioneer Park in Aurora on August 15.

I was a high school chemistry teacher in Sandwich, and moved to Rochelle High School that summer, increasing the distance to the new Chapter. Nathan and Martha Clark of Naperville hosted our October 3rd planning meeting. We then had 8 official members, and gained enough from new applications and from the disbanded George Rogers Clark Chapter to meet the required 15 to organize.

We officially organized and installed officers on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11, 1981, at Denny's in the Fox Valley Shopping Center. Our speaker was Illinois Society President Gordon P. Tierney. We set a monthly meeting schedule for 1982, meeting at Red Lobster in Aurora, Allgauers in Lisle, the Branding Iron in Downers Grove, finally settling on the Hobnail in Naperville on Monday evenings.

That summer, we were honored when our Chapter Historian Richard E. Willson of Ottawa was elected Librarian General, NSSAR. Things seemed promising for our new chapter.

Rochelle High School had a sharp decline in enrollment that year, and as the Science teacher most recently hired, I was the one let go. The closest job I could find for the next year, teaching Chemistry, was Klein High School in Spring, Texas, suburb north of Houston. So on July 26, 1982 at the Hobnail, Vice President David Ralston of Plano was elected to fill out the remainder of my term as President. And I moved to Texas, leaving Fox Valley Chapter in the very capable hands of its officers, with 27 members, two with applications sent to National, and 5 applications in preparation.

I got so busy teaching, coaching the chess team, and in church work, that I have not become active in SAR in Texas. So I have remained a member of Fox Valley Chapter, and I am very happy, after 24 years and 4 months, to be able to attend another meeting.

And I thank you for listening to me ramble on about how we got started.

Jim received a standing ovation. You will enjoy reviewing the interesting Yearbook for 1983 - 84.


Summary of 25th Anniversary Celebration

On November 5, 2006 the Fox Valley chapter, covering all or parts of 5 counties west of Chicago, celebrated its 25th anniversary in the ballroom of the Wyndham Hotel in Lisle, Illinois. Over 60 people attended.

Planning for the event required a year of dedicated Board of Managers meetings. Chuck Sener led the planning with a strong team effort by all Board Members.

By scheduling the 25th anniversary banquet the same weekend as the Great Lakes District meeting, the chapter was able to have Judge Nathan E. White, President General, Sons of the American Revolution, as the main speaker. Don Parrish, the current Chapter President, was the MC using a PowerPoint presentation developed with Bruce Talbot to provide continuity to the evening.

Reaching 25 years is a major milestone for a chapter. There is no guarantee of success, and indeed many chapters fall by the wayside over time. One of the secrets of the Fox Valley Chapter has been rotation in office.

The chapter has had 14 Presidents in its 25 years, and all living ex-Presidents except one remain chapter members. One of the highlights of the evening was an address by our Founding President, Jim Liptrap, who flew in from Texas to explain the events leading up to the birth of the Chapter. Without Jim Liptrap there would be no Fox Valley Chapter.

After Jimís talk, six former presidents were presented to the audience and they shared brief, but touching remarks that fleshed out the history of the chapter. Also introduced were Frances Zeimetz, widow of former President Frank Zeimetz, and Robert Baird, who is both an original and current officer of the chapter.

In addition to the President General and his wife Wanda, other notables in attendance included Karl Reed, President of the Illinois Society, Sons of the American Revolution, Stephen Bradley, VP General of the Great Lakes District, Sons of the American Revolution with his wife Jane, George Pradel, Mayor of Naperville and SAR member Steward Umholtz, the Republican candidate for the Attorney General of Illinois.

Although it was the 25th anniversary celebration, regular chapter business was conducted. Bruce Talbot, Chapter Secretary, presented the Law Enforcement award to Sergeant DeLise of the Oak Brook Police and a Good Citizenship medal to Mayor Pradel for their work with hospitalized children. By dressing up as Elmo and other characters, these men have worked tirelessly over the years to take away some of the fear that young children feel being hospitalized for surgery or other major medical procedures.

Mike Johnston, VP and Registrar, cleverly delegated his responsibility to induct two new members, Dale Bottom and Scott Sanders. President General White swore them in and presented their new member certificates, and ILSSAR President Reed pinned a new member rosette on their lapels. What an ideal way to join the SAR and to demonstrate one of the other secrets of the longevity of the Fox Valley chapter: the support it has received from other leaders in the SAR over the years.


Photos of 25th Anniversary Celebration

Four Presidents Umholtz White Four chapters presidents compare notes: Bob Pearson, Don Parrish, Dave Bailey and founder Jim Liptrap. On the right, SAR member & Republican candidate for Attorney General, Stewart Umholtz chats with our main speaker President General Nathan White.
DeLise Pradel Delise Talbot On the left: Sgt. DeLise of the Oak Brook Police Department and Naperville Mayor Pradel were honored for their work with hopitalized children. On the right, Chapter Secretary Bruce Talbot pins the Law Enforcement medal on Sgt. DeLise while the Mayor looks on.
Bottom Reed Bottom Sanders Reed White On the left, Illinois SAR President Karl Reed pins a new member rosette on Dale Bottom while Scott Sanders waits his turn. On the right, new members Dale Bottom and Scott Sanders pose with ILSSAR President Reed and NSSAR President General White.
Past Presidents Zeimetz Baird Seven chapter and ILSSAR & NSSAR Presidents - Chuck Sener, John Ruskamp, Karl Reed, Nathan White, Dean Childs, Dave Bailey, Bob Pearson, Jim Liptrap, & Don Parrish. Right: Frances Zeimetz, widow of chapter president and orignal & current officer, Robert Baird.