Hinsdale's first female president remembered for dedication to children, lifelong learning

Tribune reporter

Joyce Skoog, the village of Hinsdale's first and only female village president, is remembered for her commitment to community, for providing leadership during a time of transition and for putting family first.

Before serving as village president from 1993-97, Mrs. Skoog was a village plan commissioner, trustee, fire and police commissioner and a member the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Mrs. Skoog passed away Jan. 25 after a yearlong battle with breast cancer.

Mrs. Skoog grew up on Chicago's South Side. She and her husband, Roy Skoog, married when she was 19 and he was 23.

"They made a pact at a young age that they were going to do more and give their children everything they could," her daughter Melissa Skoog Dunagan said.

They found the ideal place to raise their family that grew to include four children when they moved to Hinsdale 48 years ago.

"My mother loved Hinsdale for its strong sense of community and good schools. It was a great place to raise a family," Cheryl Tague, another daughter, said.

About the same time, Mrs. Skoog began working with civic and community organizations.

"That's when my mother started getting involved. She wanted to be part of the community," Skoog Dunagan said.

Returning to school at the age of 32, she earned a bachelor's degree from DePaul University and a master's degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She displayed the same level of commitment to her work as village president as she did when she was pursuing higher education.

"She was just a very energetic person, a very resourceful leader," current village trustee Laura LaPlaca said. "She gave so much to the village."

LaPlaca said Mrs. Skoog was instrumental in the development of Washington Square, a retirement community in the village, and also helped the village ease its way through a time in the 1990s when older homes were being torn down and replaced by larger, newer homes.

The village undertook a revamping of its zoning code.

"She began the process of this new ordinance that needed to reflect this new phenomenon and regulate and control it," LaPlaca said. "She was instrumental in keeping everyone on track and working through the transition."

Mrs. Skoog also had a strong desire to help children. She served as chairman of the board of directors for the Ounce of Prevention Fund, which helps children born in poverty have quality early childhood experiences, and worked with other organizations that help children.

"She was involved in helping young mothers find their way and help them raise their children with awareness and understanding," said Skoog Dunagan.

Mrs. Skoog retired in 2002 as senior vice president of Institutional Advancement of the Aspen Institute where she was involved in program development and fundraising.

She served on other boards in the Chicago area and received the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award from the Illinois Humanities Council in 2002. She was a member of the executive council at Union Church of Hinsdale and a trustee of the Chicago Theological Seminary, which educates ministers.

"Her whole being was about lifelong learning because she was an adult learner herself," Tague said.

Despite her civic and professional commitments, her children say Skoog always had time for her family.

"She worked two jobs, always," Skoog Dunagan said. "She stayed up late to get things done. But she was a mother first and foremost. She always put us first."

Mrs. Skoog is survived by her husband Roy A. Skoog, two other children Linda Sluman and Bradley Skoog, and by four grandchildren.


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