“A body in motion, stays in motion,” and for Sue Irvin of Hillsboro, this statement rings true. Irvin is an active mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who enjoys volunteering and being a bus aide for the Hillsboro School District.
She is one of two featured on the newspaper's Young At Heart pages on 6A-7A in this issue.
Irvin was born in Rhinelander, WI, where she attended school in her early years. Then, her dad got a job offer in Waukegan and they moved to Illinois.
“I graduated in 1966 from Waukegan Township High School. After graduation, I worked for the Illinois Bell Telephone Company. I met my husband at a dance, he was in the Navy. We got married in 1968 and moved to Hillsboro in 1970 after his time was up in the military,” Irvin said.
Irvin has two children, Shane Irvin and Shawnna (Irvin) Rovey, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
“Before Shawnna was born, we moved to the country. Then, I moved to town in 1990,” said Irvin.
As her children were growing up, she stayed busy volunteering in many different organizations.
“I was a Den Mother, a Brownie leader and room mother. I also kept score for Shane and Shawnna’s ball teams,” she said. “I also belonged to the Bunko Card Club, as well as the Home Extension. I also retired from National Bank as a bank teller.”
One thing that has kept Irvin busy over the years is her love of baking. “I’ve been making cakes since 1971. I bought Baker’s coconut to order a book to make cut-up cakes. The book had a recipe for seven-minute icing, a sticky icing that holds the candies and other decorations,’ she said. “I then learned from Mary Aymond, who was originally from California, how to make and decorate cakes.”
Irvin has made many wedding and birthday cakes over the years, and has become famous for her many other desserts.
“I have been making homemade cream cheese mints since 1980. I also make pumpkin rolls which I sell over the holiday season,” she said.
Over the years, Irvin has served in many different areas of Calvary Baptist Church in Hillsboro as well.
“My family and I started attending Calvary Baptist Church around 1984. I got involved in teaching Vacation Bible School at Calvary in the old sanctuary,” Irvin said. “Now, I help in the kitchen during Bible school, organizing snacks and getting them ready for the classes. I have been doing the snacks for around ten years now. I have also helped in the kitchen for church and funeral dinners, the nursery and with the Extended Session during church services.”
Through it all, Irvin’s favorite part of volunteering is being around people. “I am a people person and like doing things to make people smile. I like to volunteer without letting people know who I am. I love getting out and helping others,” she said.
Irvin also volunteers with the Meals on Wheels Program in Montgomery County. “Bonnie O’Guinn and I deliver meals around the community,” she said. “Shawnna has also helped me to deliver the meals.”
In addition to her involvement in the community, she also takes her bus aide job very seriously.
“I have been a bus aide for three years now. During my interview with Mr. Hacke, I told him, ‘I’m good at giving hugs, tying shoes and drying tears,’ and he told me I was hired,” Irvin said. “I am on a bus with kids ages pre-K to fifth grade. They call me Miss Susie and I love it.”
The students love Irvin. She is the grandma of all grandmas, helping them put their coats on and reading to them on the bus if time permits.
“I call each of them by name. Sometimes the students leave items like their hats, gloves or lunchboxes on the bus. I take the lunchboxes home and wash them up. And, it makes me happy that they color and draw pictures for me. I love hanging them on my refrigerator,” Irvin said.
In her free time, Irvin loves to can, antique, yard sale, sew, bake, cook, watch classic movies and read. “I also make food for my neighbors. I always end up cooking like my kids are still at home, so it’s a way to share the love,” Irvin said.