Hinsdale resident still enchanted by his hometown

 

Last updated 10/11/2023 at 3:01pm | View PDF

Jim Slonoff

STEVE CASHMAN DAD TO CHARLIE, 29, AND JANE, 20 • ON CENTRAL 1978 GYMNASTICS TEAM THAT PLACED FIFTH AT STATE • MOVED TO HINSDALE WHEN HE WAS 6 • INDUCTED INTO HINSDALE CENTRAL HALL OF FAME IN SEPTEMBER

Some things are meant to be, Steve Cashman believes.

Like his decision to quit football at Hinsdale Central to join an elementary school friend on the gymnastics team.

"I just really wasn't connecting with the (football) team," he said. "I knew he was a gymnast and I went to see what he was doing. I was just amazed at what people were doing in the gym."

He asked Harry Bull, coach at the time, if he could learn those skills and the answer was, yes, if he was willing to try.

"I loved it," he said. "It was a great sport, great teammates."

Joining the team had one other key benefit - meeting the member of the girls gymnastics team who would become his wife.

"I wouldn't have met Mary Jane (Laase) if I hadn't been a gymnast," he said.

The two dated for more than three years. Cashman was a year older, and their relationship ended during his freshman year at the University of Notre Dame, where he studied architecture.

A strange coincidence brought the two back together after Cashman's dad, who was with him at a Notre Dame game, suffered an Achilles tendon snap and came to Hinsdale for the surgery.

"I came to visit him and that's when I ran into her. It was meant to be," he said.

The two lived in the city and then bought a fixer-upper in La Grange before returning to Hinsdale and raising their two children here.

"It's nice to have both of them grow up in the town we grew up in," he said.

Cashman's other favorite city is Rome, where he studied for a year as part of his college architecture program.

"It was awesome," he said. "We lived in a hotel, it was very old, right in the heart of Rome. Piazza Navona was a block away, Campo de' Fiori was a block away."

He and his 55 or so other classmates would spend 12 hours a day in class three days a week.

They devoted the rest of their time to travel.

"Thursday night we would go to the train station with a backpack and just pick a train," he said.

He still finds architecture fascinating after 40 years in the business.

"It's amazing all the work we've done," he said of his partnership with Greg Stahler, co-founding their firm in 1995. "We're not an expert in what our clients do, but we have to, in a way, get our head around what they do."

A presenter at many plan commission meetings in other towns, Cashman joined Hinsdale's in 2011 and served as chair from 2016 to 2021.

"I love to hear what the other commissioners have to say because they come from all different walks of life," he said. "Their opinions are more interesting to me than my own."

Cashman said he had no intention of moving back to his hometown when he left for college.

"Love will make you change your mind, and I'm so glad I came back," he said. "Mary Jane is the reason I wanted to come back to Chicago and ultimately Hinsdale. I love living here. It's been a great community for us."

- story by Pamela Lannom, photo by Jim Slonoff

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean

 
 

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