Skip to main content

The Chillicothe Voice

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Trish Westerman Connor

Mar 03, 2023 09:33AM ● By Sherry Adams
Trish is a hometown girl that has lived here most of her life. She was born  in Chicago, as her father had moved there for work, but by the time she was five and ready to start kindergarten her family moved back to their hometown of Chillicothe where her entire extended family lived and still do. She went to the local grade schools and graduated from IVC in 1978. Upon graduation, Trish went to ICC to pursue a teaching degree. After ICC she moved on to Bradley University where she earned her teaching degree in special education and early childhood education. She continued her studies and went on to the University of Illinois to get her master’s degree in education administration. After her schooling she married Michael Connor, a gifted carpenter, who is presently remodeling their home. They have two grown children, Megan 26, and Mitchell 20.

Trish began her teaching career at the Mid-County school district (now Midland). She can teach children from K–12, but she says teaching the little ones is where her heart lies. She taught for 35 years before retiring two years ago. She remains a substitute teacher for the district and still gets called to teach a couple times a week.

She began her career in service to the town in 1987 as an Alderman. She ran for office so she could help her hometown prosper. In 1989, while on the city council, she also served one term as Township Clerk. Trish has been an Alderman, or Alder-person as it is now referred to, close to 20 years. At the city she is chairperson of  Economic Development and Judicial Committees and a representative for Marketing and Tourism. She also sits on the Parks and Cemetery committee. She presently represents Ward 3 on the city council.

Trish is also chairperson of the City’s Shademakers beautification committee. The Shademakers oversee projects to beautify our city. They fill and decorate the planters downtown in front of the businesses and beautify our parks with flowers, trees, and landscaping. They recently worked with the city in getting new playground equipment and landscaping at various parks. The funding for the Shademakers come from rounding up your water bill, and the past three years grant money from the Summer Camp Community Fund. Some of those funds are being used for carvings, trail improvements, signage, and maps at Moffit Nature Park.

Other 2023 projects are; putting in planters in the city parking lots off of 3rd Street and new signage and a handicapped accessible picnic table in the downtown city walkway. They also sponsor the Catch the Beauty residential contest for 29 years and now the 3rd annual Holiday Spirit Lighting at Christmas in conjunction with the City/Chamber’s Countdown to Christmas. She believes that teamwork makes all these things possible.

Trish has been a member of the Optimist’s Club for many years and states one of her proudest accomplishments, besides her family, was having a part in securing the Town Theater, where she spent countless hours volunteering. “I feel the theater is an enormous asset and anchor in our town that’s a great attraction for a community of our size to have.” She goes on to say; “Other accomplishments are being a part of improvements to our city development, aesthetically and economically, particularly the downtown area.

In her “spare time” Trish gardens, reads, exercises, and now volunteers at PCAP (Peoria County Animal Protection). Being an avid animal lover, she lends a hand doing whatever she can, whether it’s feeding animals or walking the dogs. She states that the building is clean and the animals are well cared for and she really enjoys helping out.

Trish is a people person. She loves interacting with others and helping whenever she can. She will always find time to listen to a concern or comfort someone in need. “I love this town and the people and staying busy. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to make this a better place to live for all of us.” Her motto is, “Better busy than bored!” So she stays busy.

When asked, what is something about you that not many people know about?” She replied with a  laugh, “That I’m an excellent parallel parker!”

Thank you Trish from all of  us for making Chillicothe a better and more beautiful place to call home.