March time to lift up Hinsdale's leading ladies

“From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contribution went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.” — President Jimmy Carter

With those words, our nation’s 39th president designated March 2-8, 1980, as National Women’s History Week. Seven years later, Congress passed a law designating March Women’s History Month.

We continue to celebrate the contributions of women each March. The 2022 theme — selected by the National Women’s History Alliance — is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.”

We’d like to focus on something a little more local this month, namely women who have been part of Hinsdale’s history — or are busy making it.

We’ve published variations of this list, which is by no means exhaustive, in previous years. We’re limited not only by space constraints but by a lack of documentation of many women’s accomplishments. But we think it’s important to continue to lift up the names of women who helped shape Hinsdale’s history and those who continue to bring credit to this town.

• Dr. Mary Paulson, who with her husband, Dr. David Paulson, founded the Hinsdale Sanitarium (now Amita Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale), which opened in June 1905

• Nelle Schmidt, who organized the Hinsdale Red Cross Society in June 1916

• Virginia Kettering, who in 1958 with husband Eugene co-founded the Hinsdale Health Museum, predecessor to the Robert Crown Center for Health Education, which is now Candor Health.

• Ly Hotchkin, who in 1961 became the first executive director of The Community House, an agency she went on to lead for more than three decades

• Rozanne Bates, who in 1963 co-founded the Hinsdale Assembly, which has raised more than $3 million in support of Hinsdale Hospital

• Joyce Skoog, who in April 1993 became the first female village president in Hinsdale’s 120-year history

• Tomi Adeyemi, a 2011 Hinsdale Central graduate and author of the best-selling books — reportedly to be made into films — “Children of Blood and Bone” and “Children of Virtue and Vengeance”

• Kimberly Stevens, a three-time All-American swimmer at the University of Iowa, who was the first female swimmer inducted to the school’s athletic hall of fame

• Carol Bobo, former Red Devil swim coach and 1973 graduate of Hinsdale Central, who has been named coach of the year eight times by the Illinois Swimming Association, once by the National Federation of High School Associations and is a member of the Hinsdale Central Hall of Fame and Woodbury Hall of Fame

• Amanda Lannert, CEO of Chicago-based software company Jellyvision, who was named CEO of the Year at the Moxie Awards in 2014 and 2015, Woman of the Year for the Chicago Rotary Club of 2018, and inducted in 2021 inducted into Chicago Innovation’s Hall of Fame.