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     In 1957, Dr. W.C. Petty, long-time Lake County Superintendent of Schools, invited a number of retired teachers to meet as his guests at the Karcher Hotel in Waukegan to discuss the formation of a Lake County Retired Teachers Association. Twenty-eight retirees attended this first meeting, and Roy Hurd was elected president. He served in this office for ten years.

     From the beginning, Lake County has held monthly luncheon meetings, one of only three units in the state to do so. Most meetings were held at the Karcher Hotel, primarily because most of the members during these early years were retirees from the Waukegan schools. In the mid 1970s, the meetings were moved to the Northern Chalet in Libertyville. The owners there adopted the group as one of their charitable projects and served us a complete plated lunch for $5.00 per! We continued to meet there until the place was sold and demolished.

     Until 1988, Dr. Petty, and his successor William Thompson, invited all retirees, members and non-members alike, to luncheon at the Swedish Glee Club in Waukegan for the May and October meetings. Often 350 to 400 people attended, and the cost was paid from annual certificate registration fees. In addition, the Superintendent’s office provided stationery and postage for membership mailings during these years. Early on, the purpose of the Association was essentially social. Health insurance and pension funding issues were not yet on the front burners, although they were beginning to appear as issues on the horizon.

     In the early 1980s, under the leadership of Ruth Pester, LCRTA was revitalized and refocused. Membership, legislation, and health insurance became important functioning committees. Local members attended the state convention, and many were appointed to statewide committees. Roman Miller was elected president of IRTA in 1994, the first person from the northern part of the state elected to statewide office since the first president in 1955, Marjorie Cook.

     Membership records were kept in a card file and ledger for many years by treasurer Milt Davis. In 1982, the Waukegan Public Schools volunteered the use of their computer, and also agreed to program a data file, and prepare membership and mailing materials for the Association. By 1987, LCRTA was able to purchase its own computer and provide a volunteer to run it. During the 1970s and 1980s, membership steadied at about 500. Currently, paid memberships in the county unit are approaching 2000.

     As the membership increased through the years, it became apparent that two of our major functions in such a large organization had to be the dissemination of information and the reaching out to members to encourage their involvement. We have published a newsletter in May and October for many years, and are now distributing additional information sheets almost monthly. In 1995, under the leadership of Wil Hemeyer, the county was divided into four sections so that smaller groups could get together in a more intimate setting three or four times a year for discussions and socializing. A fifth such group was added in 2004. In the last several years we have developed a website, and are currently working to improve it. We take pride in the fact that we have a luncheon meeting every month with outstanding educational and entertaining programs each time.

     The Lake County Retired Teachers Association is a dynamic group dedicated exclusively to the interests and concerns of retired educators in the County of Lake and the State of Illinois.


 
Mission Statement: The LCRTA and the IRTA working in unity, are non-profit and non-partisan organizations of retired educators serving the needs of their members
through advocacy, education, cooperation, and socialization in a flexible organizational structure.