Sarah (Holder) Butler ‘53

Sarah (Holder) Butler ‘53, of Bloomington, died Friday, October 13, 2023 at her home. She was the eldest child of George Espey and Elizabeth Davis Holder, born July 29, 1931, in Normal, Illinois. Sarah was a lifelong resident of Bloomington. She attended the University of Illinois where she was affiliated with Pi Beta Phi, then later graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1953.

Sarah married the love of her life, Bill Butler, and together they raised a close family of five children, William (Kathleen), Wade (Nora), Katherine, John (Lynda) and Julia.  She leaves them, nine perfect grandchildren, Eddie, Halle, Will, Reid, Jack, Jimmy, Hanna, Olivia and Charlie, and five great grandchildren, Evan, Easton, Madison, Leo and Ellenora, her brother, Sam Saltonstall and sister, Susan Sears. Her husband, Bill died in 1992.

Sarah believed in the loving spirit of God and the goodness and peace that grows from it.  Throughout her life she enjoyed volunteering and supporting her community she loved.

Sarah’s favorite times were spent with family, encouraging them to learn something new each day, to look UP and see the world around them and to be kind. Her life was graced with good family and friends with whom she traveled, learned to love history, played cards, shared their interests in art, painting and the wonders of nature. She was forever grateful for those who gave hugs when days were long and shared the happiness of a good day. Gardens, gardening and gardeners were her passions. Click here to read her obituary.

Neal G. Berlin ‘58

Neal G. Berlin ‘58, age 87, passed away on March 19, 2024. He was born in Des Plaines, Ill., and grew up in nearby Palatine. His parents were John and Bertha Gaare Berlin.

Early on, he developed an interest in public service, and began planning to become a City Manager. Majoring in Public Administration, he graduated from Illinois Wesleyan, and then the University of Michigan. While working on a doctorate at CU, he met Myrna, a music major.

They were married in 1961 and began life together in City Management in Highland, Ill., a community of Swiss descendants. Uncle Sam quickly called, and Neal served in the Army in Korea. Neal’s next job was as Assistant to the City Manager in Pueblo. Over his career, he was Manager of Highland, Ill., Hanover, N.H., Iowa City, IA., Arvada, CO., and Ann Arbor MI.

In retirement, Neal and Myrna lived in Denver, CO. Neal served as a Denver Civil Service Commissioner.

Neal was an inquisitive, kind, friendly, conscientious, spiritual and responsible person. He placed great importance on serving with the utmost integrity, making life better for the citizens where he served as City Manager. He was the quintessential “nice guy” but adhered to his integrity and principles of good government tenaciously. He loved music; he played the tuba in High School. He will be sorely missed.

Neal is survived by his wife and daughter, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Donald W. Albery ‘56

Donald W. Albery ‘56 died January 7, 2024. He was 90. Don graduated from Bloomington High School before enlisting in the U.S. Army shortly before the Korean War. During which time he was stationed in Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland. After serving he returned to IWU where he was a member of Sigma Chi. Following graduation he had a long career in Sales and Marketing working for American Tag Company, Remington Rand and Brink’s Incorporated, where he was an Executive Business Sales Manager. Don is survived by one sister, two daughters, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.


Wilberta (Naden) Pickett ’50

The national Children’s Health Insurance Program was a response to the Pittsburgh unemployed steel workers protesting their lack of health insurance for their children at local churches where steel executives worshiped and what this author observed as she sang in the choir at the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church. The positive resolution begun at that church became the model for the Pennsylvania CHIP program, which led to the national CHIP program. This inspired Scott Galloway, the son of the church’s senior pastor, now a professional film maker, to make a Documentary, “CHILDREN IN CRISIS: The Story of CHIP,” featuring Wilberta (Naden) Pickett ’50.

You can read more about this here and here.

William E. Friberg ‘51

William E. Friberg ‘51, age 94, passed away peacefully at his home in Elmhurst, Illinois on July 4, 2023.

Born to the late Einar and Thorborg Friberg (nee Swanson). William graduated from Amundsen High School in Chicago, Illinois, followed by receiving his bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, and his master’s degree from Northwestern University. For over 30 years, William enjoyed his time as a teacher, coach, athletic director, and administrator for the Leyden High School district. After retiring from Leyden, he began BEAR Awards, a successful trophy and awards business. William was a longtime active member of Epiphany Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Epiphany Men in Mission organization, as well as offering his time as an Alderman for the Elmhurst City Council. He was also a loyal Bears and Cubs fan.

William was married to his late wife, Mary Ann Friberg (nee Anich) for 64 wonderful years. He is survived by his children, Michael Friberg and Michelene (Michael) Peterson; grandchildren Michael Mellinghausen, Nathanael (Tehani) Haggard, Benjamin Haggard, Grace Barrus (Stephen,) Lillie Haggard, Joel Haggard, and Samuel Haggard; and great-grandchildren Amelia Barrus and Noah Barrus. He had many interests, but he will be remembered most as being a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many. William’s full obituary can be read here.

Mary Ann (Hagmeyer) Guenzler ‘53

Mary Ann (Hagmeyer) Guenzler ‘53, age 91, a resident of Aurora, IL and a former longtime resident of Palos Heights, IL, and Joliet, IL, passed away peacefully on August 5, 2023, at the Brookdale Lisle Skilled Nursing Center in Lisle, IL. She was born on October 8, 1931 in Quincy, IL.

Mary Ann was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 68 years, Robert Guenzler and she is survived by her loving daughters, Susan (Herb) Getz, Marsha (Randy Stevens) Guenzler-Stevens, and Pamela (Wayne) DeBoer; her cherished grandchildren, Allison (Dave) Caldwell, Ashley (John) Boumgarden, A.J. (Leeza Papalanis) Getz, Katherine Getz, Amy DeBoer, Matthew (Whitney) DeBoer; and great-grandchildren, Helena and Ingrid Boumgarden, and Margot Caldwell. She was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Hazel Hagmeyer.

Mary Ann received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from IWU in 1953. She and her husband, Robert Guenzler, also an IWU graduate, were awarded the Alumni Loyalty Award in 1998 for their continued involvement with the University. Mary Ann also served on the Council for IWU Women and was instrumental in its early days. Her deep love for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren meant countless visits to sporting events, concerts, school events, and family celebrations and dinners. Her deep kindness for all she met endeared her to so many. Mary Ann’s full obituary can be read here.

Joseph Tolson ’56

Joseph W. Tolson ‘56, of Syracuse, Ind., passed away at noon Monday (July 17, 2023). He was born March 12, 1934, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, the son of Joseph John Tolson and Isabel Mae Erzinger Tolson. His parents preceded him in death. Also preceding him in death were a brother, William Erzinger Tolson; and a cousin, George Tolson Searls. Joseph graduated from Kankakee High School in 1952. He graduated from Culver Military Academy Summer Naval School in 1952. Joseph graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington in 1956, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He graduated from the Illinois Savings & Loan Institute in 1962. Joseph served our country in the U.S. Navy as a Yeoman 3rd Class from 1956 to 1962 and served active duty two years aboard the USS Edmonds Destroyer Escort 406. He worked as a loan officer for 1st Federal Savings & Loan in Des Plaines, from 1959 to 1965. Joseph was Vice President and Director of State Savings & Loan in Kankakee, from 1965 to 1974. Then, he was President and Director of Kankakee County Title & Trust in Kankakee, from 1974 to 1984. Joseph was an instructor with the Illinois Savings & Loan Institute’s Kankakee Chapter. He was Director of City National Bank. Joseph was also owner of Court House Title Service in Kankakee, from 1984 to 1996. 

He was also the owner of First Title Service in Kankakee, from 1986 to 1996. Joseph married Patricia Macy Tolson on Aug. 23, 1958, at the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. Surviving are his wife, Patricia Macy Tolson, of Syracuse, Ind. Joe and Pat met at IWU and would’ve been married for 65 years on August 23, 2023.; daughter, Barbara Elisabeth Tolson, of Sarasota, Fla.; son, David Joseph Tolson, of Tucson, Ariz.; and nieces, Julianne Tolson Flores, of San Francisco, Calif., and Sarah Tolson Kim, of San Francisco, Calif. Joseph was a member of the United Methodist Church. He had been chairman of the Kankakee County Board. Joseph was the past president of Rotary International, Kankakee. While a member for 38 years, he had perfect attendance. He was also a member of the Elks; The Round Table Club; a life member of Sigma Chi Fraternity; a member the Blue Key National Honor Society; a member of the Union League Club of Chicago for 50 years; chairman of Riverside Medical Center Samaritans for three years; and chairman of the United Way of Kankakee budget committee.