Front row: Harriet Marcus Gross, Etel Billig, Sandy Schechter, (Irwin's Daughter), Back row: Robert Smart, Stan Moore, Jan Moore, Warren Utes, Jerry Knight



Etel Billig, along with her late husband Steve, founded the Illinois Theatre Center, brought professional theater to the south suburbs, and in turn, gave Park Forest a distinguished regional cultural reputation. This season the ITC is in its first year in its new facility in Downtown Park Forest and continues to offer the best of theater to everyone. She helps stage special performances for worthy causes, brings theater to the classroom and makes the stage a classroom for aspiring actors. Her exuberant personality is reflected by the actor's creed: "the show must go on!"


Harriet Marcus Gross, for 17 years, was a distinguished participant in community activities. She chaired the Park Forest Commission of Human Relations, helped create the Far South Suburban Housing Service, helped suggest the building of Freedom Hall (a project which helped the Village win its second All-America city award) and was involved in numerous social, civic and educational groups. She did all this while also being a full-time reporter and columnist for the Park Forest Star.


Jerry Knight's love affair with Park Forest began in 1949 when he studied the new community as a University of Chicago student and was a long and devoted supporter of schools in the Village. He helped draft state legislation to help change the way public schools are funded through tax rates. He was actively involved in helping establish Governors State University. He is a nationally known authority on environmental issues, helped found the Cook County Office of Economic Development and is today active in promoting public concerns about public health and veterans' issues.


Stan and Jan Moore - Two teachers to students around the world. Dr. Stanley Moore taught Western Civilization, English, Humanities and Russian at Rich East High School from 1957 to 1984 while his wife Jan taught math at both Rich East and Rich South for 17 years. But their work has also carried them to the four comers of the world, spreading Park Forest's story into far countries. Stan still teaches courses at Prairie State College and Governors State University and they both are active in activities of Grace Protestant United Church in Park Forest.


Irwin "Pappy" Schechter arrived in Park Forest in 1949 and took a $4,000 pay cut when he changed jobs to become the general manager of the Park Forest Reporter. In 1953 he became the paper's editor and publisher and under his management the Reporter won numerous awards and citations. He was a member of the first District 163 School Board; a charter member of the Park Forest Lions Club and Congregation Beth Sholom; the first commissioner of Park Forest Boys' Baseball and president of the Park Forest Merchants Association.


Robert Smart is a long-time village resident with an impeccable record of service. He was a Kiwanis Club President, a member of the Park Forest Recreation Board, chairman of the Non-Partisan Committee, a member and president of School District 163 Board of Education, president of the Art Center, a Human Relations mediator, a member of the 50th Anniversary Committee, and has been active in raising funds for causes from the Community Chest, the Freedom Hall and the Park Forest Public Library's "Gateway to
Information" program.


Warren Utes, at the age of 79, is considered the greatest senior runner of all time. For the last 13 years he has devoted his time and energy to elevating the Park Forest Scenic 10 into a nationally known event. In addition to being its course director, he holds more than 20 national age group records for seniors and more than 10 world records. Last September he was named to the initial class of the Park Forest Scenic 10 Hall of Fame.