Serving the Children of the World
Detailed History of the Sycamore Kiwanis Club:
The Sycamore Kiwanis Club was organized as the 195th Club in the District on June 30, 1951. The Club was sponsored by the DeKalb Kiwanis Club and the Charter Banquet took place on July 17, 1951.    There were thirty charter members, many of whom held leadership roles in the Sycamore Community at that time.  Charter members included Fabian S. Aita, F. E. Anderson, Lester Arison, Christian H. Baie, Edward I. Boies, Lewis J. Boumgarden, Rodney D. Breunlin, Ernest C. Carls, Henry Clingman, W. Harold Edwards, Alason H. Franking, Edward L. George, Charles E.Goodley, Dr. George D. Green, Ed G. Hoffman, Dr. Howard L. Jennings, Hays Knodle, Matthew Kus, Paul V. Larson, Ross E. Millet, Forrest C. Mossholder, Gail C. Moyers, Paul Van Natta, Harold F. Paterson, Stuart E. Rasmussen, W. O. Schlegle, Everell A. Smith, Dick Strain, Russell L. Thompson and Dr. Charles W. Young.   Many of these men were life-long members and were responsible for the early growth and integrity of the club.  Their leadership in the club and the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District of Kiwanis International was defined by the many service activities and projects that were accomplished in their era.  During the first ten years the club raised over $5,000 which was used to advance the premise of "We Build".  Fund  raisers included the "Sycamore Stars" Benefit Show, Pancake Day, Peanut Sales, sponsoring a local Circus and selling Fruit Cakes.  The funds raised were used for a multitude of Youth and Community needs. Charter members who were active in the club for many years included F.S. (Pete) Aita, Harold Edwards, Matthew Kus, Everell A. Smith, and Dick Strain. Everell Smith served in many club capacities and was president in 1955.  He  was largely responsible for the long term professional operation on the club and its publicity and record keeping.  He and others gave the Club their strong determination to succeed, and resolve to challenge the members to greater heights.  Additionally,Harold Edward served as Lt. Governor on behalf of the Division in 1955.

The second decade for the club gave birth to the Travelogue.  This excellent Community program entertained the community  for thirty-seven years.  The Little Miss Peanut Contest was sponsored by the Sycamore Kiwanis Club and carried the public interest for several years. It evolved into a Pumpkin Queen Contest and still later into the Pumpkin Festival Parade Junior Marshall essay contest.  This decade saw the club raise $38,986. which was returned to the community through various service projects.  One notable activity in 1969 was the development of a liquid gas torch  for destroying green hemp/marijuana plants. (Matthew Kus and Harold Edwards developed the torch.) Members then worked with the DeKalb County Sheriff"s Department to eradicate DeKalb County of these plants.  Club Presidents during the 1970s were William Scott, John Chestnut, Robert Schrode, Matthew Kus, Harold Patterson, Joe L. Ripple, Joe B. Quin, Joseph Bussone, Ken Kruger, and LeRoy Greathouse. Joseph Bussone also served as Lt. Governor for the Division in 1969. The Club continued to meet on Tuesday evenings for a meal and a program. One such program was the Voice of Democracy winners, a program sponsored by the local VFW Club. Early winners of this program who presented their speeches to the Sycamore Kiwanis Club members included Margaret Cliffe, Dennis Dimarzio and Marie Wylde.

The Sycamore Kiwanis Club celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1976. It was announced that the club raised a total of $40,000 during the first 25 years. The guest speaker for the gala was Mr. Robert W. Reed  Governor, Illinois-Eastern Iowa District Kiwanis International and first lady Janet.  All of this money supported youth programs and community projects that were in need of additional funds.   A wide range of groups such as Boy and Girl Scouts, youth sports activities, and many other local requests, benefited from Kiwanis funding and participation.  The Club started neighborhood trash bag sales as part of Mayor Red Johnson's "Keep Sycamore Clean" Program.  We also participated in the Sycamore High School Prom and Post Prom activities, by taking pictures and serving as chaperons.

In 1970 the annual High School Sports Banquet was held.  It was jointly sponsored by Kiwanis, Rotary and the Jaycees.  Under the leadership of President, Ron Myers, Quito, Ecuador was selected as our sister club.  Major improvements were made on the Pumpkin Princess Carriage, one of which was a large Kiwanis logo.  This large community festival was supported by the Club, with leadership on the Festival Committee, sponsoring the Pie Eating Contest, and in later years, manning a food booth.

It was during the 1970s that Peter Smith, son of Everell, became a 2nd generation Kiwanis member.  Serving as Club Presidents were: Keith Moberg, Ray Garland, Ed Karnafel, Lowell Akers, Richard Brush, Thomas Brotcke, Donald Bagby, John A. Wilson, Lane McMillion, and Ronald Myers.  Everell Smith served as Lt. Governor for the Division in 1979-80.

One of the more popular fund raisers over the years has been Peanut Days.  In 1980 net sales produced $1,8702.04.  This money became part of our annual Service Projects budget.  Lori McMillion, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Lane McMillion, was chosen as the 1980 Pumpkin Festival Princess.  It was during this period that the Club mourned the recent loss of Everell Smith, one of the charter members.
The Club washed windows at the local Hi Rise, worked with the Park District to develop a Kiwanis Memorial Park, donated two outdoor benches to the Sycamore Hospital, and gave the high school coaches $3,500 for safety equipment.

Serving as Presidents were:  Richard Ott, Robert Keil, Kenneth Mundy, Dan Wunsch, George Oldham, Donald Robinson, Harry Best, James Hipple, Peter Smith, and David Leifheit.  John A. Wilson was elected Division Lt. Governor for the year 1988-89.  The Club marked its 40th anniversary early in this decade.  Membership remained strong, but the club lost two long time members in 1993.  Matthew Kus, a charter member and Paul Schryver.  Matt had been one of the club members who started the Travelogue Series, which was sponsored by our Club for 37 years.  Paul was an early club member who served as our Club Treasurer from 1975 to 1996.  Paul was ably assisted by his wife Betty, who helped Paul produce annual Club scrapbooks throughout his tenure.  These books and other Club records are currently held by John A. Wilson.  A major new service project, Adopt-a-Highway, was added in 1994, and continues today.

The Club's Lottery Night, started by Dick Graham, continues to be a major fund raiser, as does our annual Pancake Day, now the oldest continuous Club fund raiser.  The Sycamore Club nominated Joseph Bussone for the Dr. Louis V. Amador Medallion in 1994.  This, for his many years or service, especially project fund raisers.  This prestigious award was presented to Joe at the District Convention.  The following year John A. Wilson was presented the same award for his service to the Club.  In 1996 the Sycamore High School Key Club was formed.  The first female member, Kathryn (Brown) Johnson joined the Club.  A new member orientation program was started and proved to be successful.  The Club committed to supporting the first ever Kiwanis World Service Project (IDD), a program to eliminate Iodine Deficiency Disease Worldwide.  

Serving as Presidents were Richard Graham (1991-92), John Kroos (1992-93), Gary Crain 1993-94), Rob Higdon (1994-95), Nick Ruggerio (1995-96), James Edwards (1996-97), Richard Duellman (1997-98), and Kathryn Johnson (1998-99).  William FitzPatrick served two terms as Lt. Governor for the years 1996 through 1998.  John Wilson served again in this capacity for the year 1998-99.  During this period, John, Roger Jacobson, and Joseph Bussone were all presented the "Tablet of Honor", the Club's highest award.  Roger was honored for serving as Club secretary since 1971.  Joe and John were rewarded for their outstanding dedication and unselfish service. 

On July 20, 2001 the Kiwanis Club of Sycamore celebrated fifty years of service to the community.  A large banquet was held at the Fargo Restaurant (Strattford Inn) with many displays of memorabilia reflecting the history of the Clun.  The guests attending this gala event had the opportunity to review some of the Club's highlights, projects and awards.  A structured program followed said banquet attended by 137 guests.  During the evening five women were named as Honorary Members of the Club.  They were:  Marie Carlson, Nancy Leifheit, Kay Jacobson, Wanda (Askelson) Sabin, and Mary Smith.  All of these person having given unselfishly of their time and talents in some phase of the Club's programs.  The Illinois-Eastern Iowa District Governor, Rae Rupp-Srch headed a group of Division & District Officials in attendance and made some special club member presentations.  The guest speaker was Paul Palazzolo, of the Kiwanis Club of Springfield.  Paul having already served as I-I District Secretary, Treasurer and Outstanding Governor, was welcomed by the group.

As earlier mentioned, the Sycamore Club had committed to the first Kiwanis International Project, the IDD Program.  In May 1995 a goal of $110.00 per member, per year was established with an overall club goal of $13,200 at the end of the effort.  A club plan of action was initiated which included personal pledges totaling $7,500.  The Club picked up the challenge with enthusiasm and dedication.  Success was soon evident and our numbers began to grow.  Over time, this total continued to grow and ultimately nearly $24,000 or an average of $550.00 per member was raised for this World Service Project.  As such, the Sycamore Kiwanis Club qualified as an Honor Club relative to this project.  The Clun took great pride in having personally helped to eliminate the most prevalent cause of preventable mental disability in the world, iodine deficiency. 

Richard Graham became the 6th Sycamore Club member to serve as a Division Lt. Governor for the year 2001-2001.  He was followed by Larry Forsberg in 2003-2004.  Both men served with distinction, providing leadership to the entire Kiwanis family in our Division.  To help support our Key Club group, the Shrimp Dinner fund raiser was renewed.  Under the leadership of William Lantz, this community wide project has proven to be a favorite meal for the local folks and has provided needed funding for the Key Club. 

Sycamore Kiwanis Club has supported the annual Car Show by providing breakfast for attendees.  Info Children Priority One (YCPO), an International project, has been continually supported by this Club, for many  years.  Various programs and funded issues fall within the parameters of YCPO, one of the many youth programs sponsored by Kiwanis.  The Club also completes activities and funding for other Major Emphasis Programs, including Three Rivers Head Start and the purchase of Braille books.  Books given to the library, specialty items for needy folks, Volunteer Santa Clauses during the holidays, providing gift certificates and clothing for those in need.  Countless other projects in and for the local community, make the Sycamore Kiwanis Club a true service organization.

Sycamore Kiwanis     now supports the Key Club at Sycamore High School, a Builder's Club at the Middle School, The Aktion Club at Opportunity House, NIU Circle K at Northern Illinois University, and K-Kids at Southeast Elementary School.  For a number of years the Club has held an organized Golf League during the summer months at the Sycamore Golf Course.

Club membership hit an all time high of 50 men and women in 2001.  The energy and enthusiasm of the club reflects the leadership of the past 50 years.  During that period, the club returned over a third of a million dollars to the community.  Members have provided thousands of hours of community service and continue to dedicate themselves personally and as a club, to the needs of others.  The Sycamore Kiwanis Club has been blessed with the strong support of the local community.  These two factors will surely lead the club through the next 50 years as a very real force in our society.

Changes are occurring within he structure of the International, District, Division, and local club.  These changes will make the Kiwanis movement even stronger and more service minded than it has already been.  The Kiwanis Motto,We Build" adopted in 1920 has been changed to "Serving the Children of the World".  This new motto tells the world that Kiwanis is the premier service club focused on the needs of the children.  A new defining statement has also been adopted, "Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time."

The Illinois-Eastern Iowa District of Kiwanis International also celebrated a 50th anniversary in 2002.  This was the anniversary of our finest project, the Spastic Paralysis Research Foundation.  This foundation started in 1941 was for medical research addressing the area of spastic paralysis.  Supported by the clubs of the District, total contributions through the year 200 were $4,136,000.  This program is a gift to the world from the I-I District and the many researchers who have been funded with grants from this Foundation.  The Sycamore Club has been named consistently to the Honor Roll of Kiwanis clubs underwriting this wonderful work. 

Larry Forsberg became President in 2001-2002, Don Phelps served in 2002-2003, Jea Nae Wood was elected for 2003-2004, Mike Hermes for 2004-2005 and Debbie Huntley for 2005-2006.  Alex Smith, the 50th Club member, has served as President (2006-2007).  A special honor for the Club was the selection of Jea Nae Wood in 2004 as the I-I District Secretary.  The District Office wass located in DeKalb.  All Kiwanis Officers take over their responsibilities on October 1st of each year.

May this ever so brief history of the Sycamore Kiwanis Club be reflective of the passion, the dedication and the integrity of the men and women who have nurtured and guided this club for the first 50 some years.  Local individuals who would like to participate in such an organization, are invited to visit and learn more about the Club.  The Sycamore Kiwanis Club currently meets on the first, third and fifth Tuesday evenings at the Mitchel Lounge at the Jane Fargo Hotel  downtown Sycamore.

Authors note: The original Kiwanis Charter of the Sycamore Club is now housed in the Sycamore Historical Society Museum.  The above history of the Sycamore Kiwanis Club was gleaned from archives, records and other historical materials, and complied by John A. Wilson.

The following is a list of the Sycamore Kiwanis Little Miss Peanut/Pumpkin Princess/Pumpkin Parade Junior Marshals

1972    Dawn Quitno            1973    Helga Elaine McCarroll          1974     Sue Montzka
           June Deisz                            Sandra Lenschow                               Susan Bagby
           Beverly Suhr                          Julie Clayberg                                    Debra Kohler

1975    Melinda Maaske        1976    Gina Salemi                           1977      Lisa Laing
           Susan Butts                            Amanda White                                  Bonita DeVale    
           Mary Lange                           Julie Glawe                                        Amanda White

1978    Chris Hindenberg       1979    Megan O'Neill                       1980      Lori McMillion
           Anna Brown                          Kristi Scheiben                                    Linda Henricks
           Donna Dobson                     Kristi Knudsen                                     Kristi Knudsen   

1981    Kati Schlieben            1982    Kathi Schlieben                     1983     Jenny Roitburd 
           Debbie Madrazak                 Jennie Challand                                Angela Kerby
           Lisa Albrecht                         Karrie Smith                                        Kelley Whitney

1984    Pamela Newsom       1985    Emma Mclaren                                  Greg Briska
           Diane Nelson                         Traci Welker                                       Matt Johnson  
           Lisa Strain                               Tracey Petit                                        Shane Smith

1986    Claudia Flores                       Matt Pfund                           1987       Ingrid Floit 
            Tina Smith                             Eric Oldham                                       Jenny Lane
            Stephanie Rubeck                Jarrett Bidstrup                                   Tina Smith

            Allen Doederlein       1988    Shay Kramer                                        Pat Minnihan
            John Munch                         Tina Smith                                            Todd Henigan
            Eric Gustafson                      Sara Recchia                                      John Stipher

1989    Kristin Griffith                         Scott Maness                       1990         Katie Troeger
           Holly   Munch                        Jeremy McCormick                             Holly Munch
           Brianne Totman                    John Munch                                         Kristin Griffith

           Betony Toht               1991    Kristin Griffith                                        Erica Catleet  
           Michael Arrington                Amy Krause                                          Kelley Coots
           Mike Smith                           Brianne Totman                                    Nathan Berth

1992    Amy Krause                          Anthony Bannon                  1993         Lisa Bonkowski
           Debbie Lenschow                Ben Brotcke                                          Rachel Carroll
           Katie Braser                          Joe Benson                                           Amy Krause

           Megan Willard         1994     Katie Braser                                           Lisa Bonkowski
           Katie Braser                          Amanda Swiert                                     Kristine Richter
           Eric Grendahl                       Kristine Wood                                        Shane Mahon  

1995    Betsy Bratner                        Kristine Richter                      1996          Maria Smith
           Claire Damon                     Kimberlie Strickland                                Amanda Fabrizius 
           Molly Nihan                         Greg Sullivan                                          Kristen Rasmussen

           Salvatore Maniaci  1997     Leah Martin                                             Tiffany Blackhurst
           Kelli Meserde                      Jackie Holtz                                            Courtney Kocher
           Brook Borchers                    Kelsi Countryman                                    Nicole Woodrick

1998    Jennifer Mathey                  Summer Blahnik                     1999           Sarah Warzecha
           Ruth Waterfield                  Jackie Perkins                                          Jackie Courtney
           Kelsey Quinn                       Ben Speck                                                Jamie Peterson

           Lauren Diehl           2000     Jennie Hammer                                       Rebecca High
           Natalie Schramer               Emily Bonkowski                                       Amanda Leafgren
           Debbie Fecken                   Emily Giles                                                Askley Evans 

2001    Tyler Slack                           Amie Thurow                         2002            Anna Slayton
           Josh Howells                      Allison Johnson                                         Mary Rose Lesniewski
           Amanda Johnson              Clarissa Kidd                                             Michelle Fleetwood

           Clarissa Kidd         2003      Laura Ann Comer                                     Monkia Dargis
           Mary Diedrich                     Lisa Flandaca                                           Christina Johnson
           Ashlee Panozzo                  Kim Pearcy                                               Nathaniel Van Weinen
2004    Angela Ambrogio              Kathleen Caldwell               2005              Bruce Girard
           Michael Buckner                 Matthew Gilmer                                        Anna Buzzard
           Harlan Johnson                  Cody Ballenger                                         Brett Harto

           James Sietsema   2006       Lydia Moore                                              Jessica Pluhm
           Sara Smith                          Anna Gelman                                           Henry Johnson
           Erica Nielson                      Stephanie Ebert                                         Laura Turk         

                                               Kiwanis International Foundation Awards        
                                                       Club Member Recipients  

                                                          KIWANIS FELLOWS  $100.00*

1.    Joseph V. Bussone                                                                                1984
2.    Matthew Kus (d)                                                                                   1985
3.    Paul Schryver (d)                                   #519                        February 2, 1987
4.    G. Roger Jacobson                             #520                        February 2, 1987
5.    Howard Newquist                               #521                        February 2, 1987
6.    Clifford McConnell                              #522                        February 2, 1987
7.    Lane McMillion                                    #648                        February 1, 1988
8.    John A. Wilson                                    #649                         February 1,1988
9.    John Kroos                                          #861                       January 16, 1989
10.   LeRoy Greathouse                            #1025                        August 8,   1990
11.   Richard Ott                                       #1331                            April 20, 1992

                                              George F. Hixson Fellowships ($1,000)

1.    James G. Quiram                            #2279                                            1995
2.    Joseph V. Bussone                           #7570                                            1997
3.    John A. Wilson                                 #8185                                            1997
4.    William R. Lantz                               #9529                                            1997
5.    James K. Hipple                               #9685                                            1997
6.    William F. FitzPatrick                        #9700                                            1998
7.    Clifford McConnell**                      #10171                                            1998
8.    Richard R. Graham                        #10587                                            1998
9.    Peter T. Smith**                              #10707                                            1998
10.  Gary L. Crain**                               #10708                                            1998
11.  LeRoy Greathouse                          #11707                                            1998
12.  Jean FitzPatrick***                          #L-972                                             1998
13.  Kenneth C. Mundy**                      #16302                                             1999
14.  Rev. Donald Phelps**                    #24815                                              2001
15.  Richard E. Plenger**                       #24817                                             2001
16.  Bobby L. Armstrong**                     #24818                                             2001 
17.  Richard J. Duellman**                    #24829                                             2001
18.  Jea Nae Wood ****                                                                                2004
19.  Toney Xidis*****                                                                                        2004 - Facility Advisor
20.  Vicki Simon *****                                                                                     2004 
21.  Father Frank Timar++                                                                            2004 Anonymously given
22.  Daniel Rogers****                                                                                    2004
23.  Daniel Rogers****           Diamond Hixson                                                2004
24.  Robert Higdon****                                                                                   2004

*        Club contribution
**       Member/Club shared contribution
***     Lady Hixson presented to wife by member spouse
****    Member/Foundation share
*****  Club/Foundation share
++     Given by member anonymously
(d)     Deceased

                                   Tablets of Honor ($1000.00)   $2,000.00 after 2002
                                       Awarded only by a Club to an Individual

Joseph V. Bussone *                    Presented by Club April 17, 1998
G. Roger Jacobson *                  Presented by Club October 14, 1998
John A. Wilson *                          Presented by Club October 14, 1998
Clifford McConnell *                   Presented by Club July 20, 2001

                                                       Illinois Eastern Iowa District
                                        Luis V. Amador M. D. Medallion Recipients

Joseph V. Bussone                                    #19                                        1994
John A. Wilson                                          #29                                        1995
William FitzPatrick                                   #127                                        2001
William Lantz                                          #195                                        2003
Richard Plenger                                      #224                                        2004 Posthumously


                                                               WALTER ZELLER FELLOWSHIP

Greyory Akers                                        PRESIDNETIAL Zeller                9/6/2014 
Lois Anderson-Hoffman                           MD Zeller 2013                        4/7/2013

Joe Bussone                                           Zeller                                      7/71/2012

Gary Crain                                              Zeller                                     1/17/2014

Stephanie Forsberg                                  Walter Zeller Fellowship           6/25/2014

Richard R. Graham                                   Walter Zeller Fellowship           9/24/2014

James Hipple                                            Walter Zeller Fellowship          9/30/2014 

G. R. Jacobson                                          Zeller                                    9/5/2012

Dennis N. Jagodzinski                                Walter Zeller Fellowship          10/10/2014

Bernie Schelkof                                         Walter Zeller Fellowship          8/8/2014  

Christel A. Springmire                                Walter Zeller Fellowship          9/24/2014  













KEN mUNDY   30  (1984)
Dave Leifheit 25  (1987)

Roger Burdick  (25 Years)

Robert Higdon (25 Years)

                                PAST CLUB PRESIDENTS

1951-1952            W. Harold Ewards            1979-1980            Ronald Myers

1954                       F. S. Aita                             1980-1981            Richard Ott

1955                       Everell Smith                     1981-1982            Robert Keil

1956                       Lewis Baumgarton            1982-1983            Kenneth Mundy

1957                       Cliff Mc Connell                 1983-1984            Daniel Wunsch

1958                       William Thomas                 1984-1985            George Oldman

1959                       Carol Mummert                 1985-1986            Donald Robinson

1960                       William Scott                      1986-1987            Lane Mc Million

1961                       John Chesnutt                   1987-1988            Harry Best

1962                       Robert Shrode                  1988-1989            James Hipple

1963                       Mathew Kus                      1989-1990            Peter Smith

1964                       Harold Patterson              1990-1991            Dave Leifheit

1965                       Joe Ribble                          1991-1992            Richard Graham

1966                       Joe Quinn                           1992-1993            John Kroos

1967                       Joe Bussone                       1993-1994            Gary Crain

1968                       Ken Kruger                         1994-1995            Robert Higdon

1968-1969            Le Roy Greathouse             1995-1996            Nick Ruggiero

1969-1970            Keith Moberg                    1996-1997            Jim Edwards

1970-1971            Ray Garland                        1997-1998            Rick Duellman   

1971-1972            Ed Karnafel                         1998-1999            Katie Johnson

1972-1973            Lowell Akers                      1999-2000            Andrew Hargraves

1973-1974            Richard Bush                      2000-2001            Bob Armstrong

1974-1975            Thomas Brotcke                2001-2002            Larry Forsberg

1975-1976`          Donald Bagby                     2002-2003            Rev. Don Phelps

1976-1977            John Wilson                       2003-2004            Jea Nae Remala

1978-1979            Lane Mc Million                 2004-2005            Mike Hermes

2005-2006            Debbie Ellison                    2006-2007            Alex Smith

2007-2008            Vickie Simon                      2008-2009            Chris Frankovich
2009-2010             Christel Springmire         2010-2011            Christel Springmire

2011-2012             Lois Anderson Hoffman  2012-2013            Robert Ogle

2013-2014             Greg Akers                       2014-2015             Juanita Mundy

2015-2016          Sandy Lancaster          2016-2017     Debbie Elleson