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Susan Gravenhorst

1931 - 2019
Susan Gravenhorst Obituary
Susan Ann (Loving) Gravenhorst, a distinguished volunteer, University of Illinois trustee and Lake County Commissioner, passed away peacefully on September 15, 2019 in Lincolnshire, IL. Born in 1931 in Effingham, IL, she was the sole child of Harold and Julia (Highsmith) Loving. A bright student, she skipped third grade, graduated valedictorian from Effingham (IL) High School and earned a BA degree from Illinois. On Valentine's Day, 1953, she was united in marriage with Albert D. Gravenhorst. Susan and Alby moved around the country until settling in Lake Forest, IL in 1961 and raising a family. In the late 1960's together with her husband, she founded Gravenhorst & Associates, Inc., where she served as Treasurer for over 35 years. She was also very active in non-profit and civic affairs including stints as President of local PTA and PEO chapters as well as the women's auxiliaries of Lake Forest Hospital, the Arden Shore Association, Lake Forest Symphony and Faith Lutheran Church. Susan jumped into local politics with the Lake Forest Caucus and various local, county and state Republican organizations. In 1984, Susan decided to combine her interests in (i) education, (ii) the University of Illinois and (iii) politics by running un-slated as a Republican candidate for the University's Board of Trustees. Despite being relatively unknown and having limited financial backing, she prevailed in both the primary and the general elections. This made her the first Republican woman to win statewide office. She was re-elected in 1990 and, after the Board shifted from elective to appointive, was appointed to a third term by Governor Edgar in 1996. In 1997, Susan was elected Chairman by her fellow trustees and, consequently, her signature is on the diplomas of thousands of 1998 – 2000 graduates. After retiring from the U of I Board in 2002, Susan was elected to the Lake County Board of Commissioners where she represented Lake Forest/Lake Bluff through 2012. She ended her political career having never lost an election. At the time of her death, Susan was a member of Knollwood Club, Delta Gamma Sorority and PEO. Susan was predeceased by her husband, Alby, and is survived by (i) a son, Hugo (Terese) Gravenhorst of Chicago, (ii) two daughters, Suzanne Gravenhorst of Waukegan and Jane (Lars O.) Soderberg of Cherry Hills Village, CO, and (iii) five grandchildren. A memorial service was held at 2 p.m. on Friday, September 20, 2019 at Faith Lutheran Church, 680 Deerpath Road, Lake Forest, IL. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the University of Illinois Foundation. Info: Wenban Funeral Home (847) 234-0022 or www.wenbanfh.com
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication from Sept. 20 to Sept. 26, 2019
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