BLOOMINGTON — Nancy J. Froelich, 88, known by family and friends as Nonie, of Lake Bloomington, formerly of Gridley, passed away Wednesday (July 17, 2019) at her home.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Monday at Christ Community Church of Gridley with the Revs. Andy Huette and Grant Stauter officiating.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday at the church. Burial will follow at Gridley Cemetery.
She was born on Nov. 6, 1930, in Bloomington, the daughter of Oscar George and Catherine Karr Hoose. She married William E. Froelich Jr. on Nov. 25, 1950. He passed away Dec. 26, 2011.
She was also preceded in death by one son, William E. Froelich III in 2010.
She is survived by her children, Susan (Paul) Laiming, Gridley; Craig (Barbara), Skaneateles, N.Y.; and David (Kathy), Bloomington. She was also blessed by 11 grandchildren, Paul (Melissa) Laiming, Katie (Shannon) Bachelor, Will (Shauna) Froelich and Nicholas (Brandi) Froelich; Churchill and John Froelich; Alex, Abbey and Gabe Froelich; and Jake and Matt Froelich; and 15 great-grandchildren, Sam, Anna, Grace Bachelor; Abi, Esther, Paul III, Tuke, Asher, Kias and Cru Laiming; Lani May, William IV (Buddy) Froelich; Annabelle and River Froelich; and Jasmyn Froelich. She is also survived by one sister, Susan Jefferson of Bloomington and three nephews, Paul and Tim Jefferson and Rush Holt Jr.
She was strong partner and supporter with her husband, Bill, in Froelich Memorial Homes and Heritage Enterprises and was a licensed funeral director for over 50 years.
Mom was always disappointed that she had not completed her college degree, so at age 59 she returned to school and received a BA degree at Eastern Illinois University in 1989.
She was involved in many areas of public service including both elementary and university education beginning with the Gridley School Board from 1959-1970. As a school board member, she helped develop the Tri-County Special Education District. From 1977-2006, she served on various higher education boards including: the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities, and was its chairman from 1984-1989; the Illinois Board of Higher Education's Citizens' Advisory Board; the Board of Higher Education; the State University Retirement System Board; and the ISU Board of Trustees.
Nancy has always been a practical unifier, bringing people together to solve problems and build the community. She served on the McLean County Board from 1981 to 1992. She served as board chair during the mid-1980s growth spurt and economic expansion of McLean County. During this time, the Law and Justice Center and the county jail were expanded, and the Juvenile Detention Center was established, and she was instrumental in preserving the Old Courthouse, helping to transform it into the McLean County Museum of History. She served as secretary on the Museum's Board of Directors for many years and was a strong advocate in its growth.
She served on the Board of the Mennonite College of Nursing and was a recipient of an honorary nursing degree “for her dedicated interest, support and understanding of the profession of nursing,” Mennonite School of Nursing said, "She was a builder, leader and role model for women in leadership.”
Mom valued and relied on her faith and was committed to Christ Community of Gridley. She served as the moderator of the First United Church of Gridley from 1978-1982, when the Congregational and Methodist Churches merged, and the new church was built.
Because of her commitments, she received the following honors: YWCA Woman of Distinction, IWU Distinguished Alumni Business & Professional Woman of the Year, Bloomington Rotary's Paul Harris Fellow, State of Illinois Preservation Award, ISU John Maitland, Jr. Commitment to Education Award and the McLean County Mayors' Association Person of the Year and named as a History Maker by the McLean County Museum. She was twice elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.
Mom highly valued her relationships with those she served and her community in Gridley and McLean County. She was a builder, a leader and worked to make our community locally a dynamic place where people could come together to grow and share in the benefits of a strong educational and working foundation.
Nonie had a deep love for our family and taught all of us many valuable lessons about life and love — most importantly: Use the gifts and talents God has given you to serve others, treasure family and friends, and live a life full of integrity, truthfulness and commitment….We loved her and will miss her.
Memorials may be given to Christ Community Church, village of Gridley City Park, Mennonite College of Nursing or McLean County History Museum.
Calvert-Johnson & Froelich Memorial Home, El Paso is assisting the family with services.