The Recent Years (1987-1999)

Wally Suchanek #23394 (Fairview Heights) began the third decade of the Illinois JCI Senate as it’s President. It marked the beginning of each Senate President thereafter developing a slogan for their respective year. Thus 1987-88 was “Wally’s World“. Life memberships reached 300 during Wally’s term. The Splinter Corp was founded, consisting of the spouses of JCI Senators with Karen Willett being elected as their charter President. JCI began awarding Senatorships in the 40000 number series. 1987 TOYP winner Gerald Killian from Lincoln, IL was named one of the 1988 National TOYA winners. Past President and charter member, Tom Wallisch #8012 passed away on June 2, 1988. Past President Charlie Gouveia #18294 served as Region V Vice President of the US JCI Senate.

1988-89, under the leadership of Jim Mathis #32168 (Paris), was the year for “Share The Dream“. This was the first year the Illinois JCI Senate began hosting the Winter GA Meeting along with the TOYP program for the Illinois Jaycees. Bev Mahoney (Olson) #42473 (Park Forest) became the first Illinois female to receive a JCI Senatorship. The Illinois JCI Senate proudly presented the initial $10,000 for the Jaycee Service Center. Mike Moritz (Missouri) received Honorary Life Membership #3. The late Tom Wallisch #80122 was inducted into the Illinois Jaycees Hall of Fame.

Denny DeGroot #40222 (Ashland) was President in 1989-90 with a theme of “Reaching New Heights“. The US JCI Senate started the Return-the-Favor program. The Illinois JCI Senate initiated the extended payment plan for life memberships. The Constitution and Bylaws were completely re-written to include both genders. Past President and charter member, Larry Olsen #6453, passed away on March 31, 1990 at the age of 85. The Illinois JCI Senate contributed and additional $15,000 for the Illinois Jaycees Service Center. Denny was recognized as an Outstanding State President by the US JCI Senate.

Ted Kuenzli #32168 (Tinley Park) served as President in 1990-91 while “Sailing Through the Senate Bearing Jaycee Fellowship“. The Illinois Jaycees Service Center, including the Illinois JCI Senate Room was dedicated on July 29, 1990. The Vice President titles were changed from Internal and External to Administrative and Management. Due to the dissolution of the Jayceettes, it was approved to offer associate memberships to all Illinois Congresswomen into the Illinois JCI Senate at a cost of $10 annually. Luci Hover (Rockford) became the first Associate Member of the Illinois JCI Senate. Charlie Gouveia #18294 became the Editor for The Forum.


Wayne Keifer #36498
 (New Baden) was the year of the train synonymous with his theme of “Staying On Track“. The Illinois JCI Senate initiated the assistance fund program which was developed to provide financial assistance to a Senator in need. This marked the beginning of each Senate President having their own Senate shirt and colors in addition to the Illinois Senate shirt. Past President and charter member, Vito Martinez #7159 passed away at the age of 62. The Illinois JCI Senate approved to provide the manpower and chairmanship for the Larry Olsen Memorial Golf Tournament on behalf of the Illinois Jaycee Charitable Foundation to be conducted in conjunction with the Illinois Jaycees Summer GA Meeting. JCI Senatorship #50000 was awarded by JCI. Illinois Jaycees Executive Secretary Cheryl Knocke was awarded Honorary Life member #4. Charter President Jim O’Connell #5046 was inducted into the Illinois Jaycees Hall of Fame.
Jim Mammen #37122
 (Lincoln) served as the 25th President of the Illinois JCI Senate during 1991-1992. The theme for that year was “Twenty-five Years of Tradition“. A 25th Anniversary Celebration was held at Lincoln. The Railsplitter Corp donated the flags to the Jaycee Service Center. The cost of a life membership increased from $200 to $300 with the amount going into the life account increasing to $150. The Illinois JCI Senate established and approved a Senate Picnic Bid Policy. Illinois JCI Senate membership reached 600 members. Jim was recognized as an Outstanding State President by the US JCI Senate. The Heartland Honey Dipper by Linc first appeared in The Forum. Past President Bill Willett #17398 served as Region V Vice President of the US JCI Senate.

John Olson #35308 (Albers) was the year of “We Believe, We Achieve” during 1993-94. The Illinois JCI Senate hosted the Region V Spring Fling Meeting in Peoria with Jim Mammen #37122 and Mike Kelley #33910

serving as co-chairmen. The Illinois JCI Senate conducted their first Larry Olsen Memorial Golf Tournament in Morton to raise funds for the Illinois Jaycees Scholarship program. Gary Pittenger #24804 was the Chairman. The first Casino Nights were conducted as the Illinois JCI Senate fund raiser. Tom Czuback #43060 and Mark Willey #39704 were the co-chairmen. Past President Charlie Gouveia #18294 presented a Senatorship to his daughter, Mary Ann Riggs #52696, thus becoming the first father-daughter Senators in Illinois. The Northern Illinois Senate Club, commonly known as Caesar’s Legion, was founded on October 27, 1993 with 49 members. Jim Hedlund #16042 (Rockford) was the charter President. Past President Charlie Gouveia #18294 was inducted into the Illinois Jaycees Hall of Fame.

Roger Colbert #38086 (Millstadt) 1994-95, it was the year the Senate went “Swinging with Bubba”. Wendy Leonard #51472 was the first female to serve as President of the Illinois Jaycees. The Illinois JCI Senate State Convention and the US JCI Senate National Convention meetings were held in the same hotel – King Henry’s in St. Louis. Larry Stierwalt #22131 presented a Senatorship to his son, Chris Stierwalt #52939 – thus becoming the first father-son Senators in Illinois. Past President Denny DeGroot #40222 served as Region V Vice President of the US JCI Senate. Past President and charter member “Tiney” Nix #18321 was inducted into the Illinois Jaycees Hall of Fame.

Tom Thompson #39283 (Palatine) was the 29th President who went “Racin’ Around the Senate” in his #29 race car. It was Tom who introduced the Presidential “wanna-be” knee pads. They obviously worked since Tom not only was recognized as an Outstanding State President by the US JCI Senate, but he was also the recipient of the National President’s “Suck-Up” Award. Under Tom, the Illinois JCI Senate was first recognized for their Return-the-Favor program by the US JCI Senate. The Freshmen Senator Orientation program was initiated for all new Senators at each of the State meetings. Honorary Life Member #5 was presented to Joe Eller (Tennessee) and Honorary Life Member #6 was awarded to Jerry Wendelken (Michigan). Membership went over the 650 level.

Bev Olson #42473 (Park Forrest) became the first female to be elected President of the Illinois JCI Senate. She served as our 30th President in “The Dawning of a New Era“. A 30th Anniversary Cocktail Party was held in Springfield. The Constitution and Bylaws were updated and Polices were officially added. Annual membership dues increased from $20 to $30. Bev was recognized as Outstanding State President by the US JCI Senate. Past Senate President, Gary Pittenger #24804 was inducted into the Illinois Jaycees Hall of Fame.

Gary Pittenger #24804 (Morton) opened the doors to the fourth decade as the 31st President with golf as a main priority as depicted by the theme, “Driving FORE Success“. Membership surpassed 700 and the number of Life memberships went over 500. The cost over Life Memberships decreased from $300 to $250. First Silent Auction was held as a Senate fund-raising project. Return-the-Favor program, The Forum newsletter, Organ Donor Chairman and Treasurer were recognized as Outstanding by US JCI Senate. Gary was recognized as the Thomas Humphrey Memorial Award Winner as The Outstanding State President. Past President, Denny DeGroot #40222 was elected Treasurer of the US JCI Senate. Past President, John D. Olson #35308 and Life Member John Davidson #35560 were inducted into the Illinois Jaycees Hall of Fame.

Dean Paulcheck #50582 (Woodstock) closed the doors on the 20th Century as the 32nd President but he definitely left his mark as “The Teapot”. Dean’s theme of “Sharing the Past to Build a Future” was instrumental in the year’s success. Two new fund-raisers were implemented, Rams Football Concession and BINGO. By-laws and Policies were updated to support the Jaycee administrative year change. Return-the-Favor program, The Forum newsletter, and Treasurer were recognized as Outstanding by US JCI Senate. Dean received the second consecutive Thomas Humphrey Memorial Award for Illinois as The Outstanding State President. Life Member Frank C. Watson #36188 was inducted into the Illinois Jaycees Hall of Fame.