Annette Rickerson doted on the like a mother hen, which made sense considering the district was born in her living room.
The park board’s first meeting was held on July 1, 1967, in Mrs. Rickerson’s living room on 165th Place.
Mrs. Rickerson spent the next 33 years as the park district’s office manager and was the park board’s deputy board secretary for 44 years.
“She was involved with everything,” said John Curran, director of parks and recreation for the past 16 years. “I remember that on my first day, she walked in and said, ‘Hun, anything you need, you just ask me’.”
Mrs. Rickerson died on Monday at Palos Community Hospital after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 71.
“She loved Tinley Park and loved being involved."
— daughter Laurie Dybala
“We have purple bunting over the ,” said Curran. “She will most definitely be missed. She was a remarkable person.”
Mrs. Rickerson also managed to find the time to play Mrs. Claus at village events.
“She played Mrs. Claus at the Parade of Lights and at the tree lighting ceremony at the train station,” said her daughter Laurie Dybala. “She loved being interviewed as Mrs. Claus on the cable access channel.”
She had such an impact on the park district, the board meeting room was named in her honor, Curran said.
Mrs. Rickerson gave new meaning to the word secretary. In addition to the park district, she served as secretary to the Tinley Park Long Range Plan Commission, Tinley Park Zoning Board of Appeals, Tinley Park Senior Services Commission and Tinley Park Community Resources Commission.
“She was very busy lady,” said Judy Bruning, assistant to . “She started as a volunteer, but did so much work we put her on the village payroll for secretarial work.”
“Everyone called her Dolly,” said Bruning. “I knew her for 44 years. She was quite the dancer. She even introduced me to my husband when he worked at the park district.”
Mrs. Rickerson also was secretary of the board at the Oak Lawn Municipal Employees Credit Union.
“She was one of the first board members from Tinley Park after they joined the credit union,” recalled Jan Kitching, credit union manager.
“She was on every committee we had,” said Kitching. “Her loss is going to be felt by both communities. We’re going to miss her.”
Mrs. Rickerson and her late husband moved to Tinley Park in 1962.
“It was right after they got married,” said her daughter, who was living with her in Tinley Park. “I can remember them talking about how they were going to pay their $125 a month mortgage payment.”
“She loved Tinley Park and loved being involved,” Dybala said. That involvement included the Tinley Terrace Homeowners Association, being a Brownie leader, being a member of the PTA, St. George Women’s Club, and Oktoberfest committee.
She also was quite active with the Jaycees, and was president of the Mrs. Jaycees in 1976, said Bruning.
“We used to attend Jaycees conventions together,” said Bruning. “The trips were our vacations.”
Mrs. Rickerson was diagnosed with breast cancer 13 years ago, her daughter said. “She was cancer free for 10 years, and then struggled for the past three years when they found cancer cells.”
Curran recalls that she was so dedicated to the park district, that she would schedule her chemo treatments so she could keep coming to the board meetings.
“I think it helped keep her going,” he said.
Survivors include a son, Rick Rickerson, of New Lenox; and four grandchildren.
Services were held last week at .