The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner
I believe my former corporate attorney, the late Bill Rutherford of Peoria, must be turning over in his grave seeing what changes have gone on in Illinois with the new laws we've been reporting on from Illinois Press's Capitol News-Illinois.
While many workers today are happy with an 9-5 job so to speak, Mr. Rutherford was a hard worker and doer, trying to make his time on earth count for something. Besides an active law practice, Bill loved preserving wildlife in Illinois, building retreats to attract a variety of birds in Peoria Heights. He had a variety of information in his office about wildlife. He also built the Wild Life Prairie Park near Farmington which was a dream of his father's. With passion, hard work ethic, and communication skills, Bill was able to build the park and influence an assortment of people with large estates to leave funds for feeding various animals that were brought into the park. He planned on giving the park to Peoria before his death so it could continue on, and eventually build a large convention center there, But, the leaders in Peoria at that time, wouldn't take it. "They have no guts," he told me.
Rutherford then gave the park to the State of Illinois.
"Someday," Rutherford told me, "Illinois will be the place everyone will want to go. It's rich farmland, waters, foliage and wildlife and quiet peaceful God fearing land will be where everyone will want to live and raise their famiies.
Bill had several plaques with mottos inscribed on them that he had nailed to posts at the Prairie Park near the gift shop. One was: "Before you can accomplish anything great, you have to get the one at home on your side." That was for his wife, he said. She was very supportive and worked in the Wildlife park gift shop.
I really appreicate the short time I knew Bill. He made a strong impression on all our family.
As I look around, I believe there have been so many people like him who built Illinois with a good family supporting them.
They were mostly strong families of faith, who went to church, were leaders in their community and modeled hard work and ethics. Many were active on church boards, city councils and school boards.
Others took time to help neighbors or volunteered on the fire department, or helped build schools and churches, and many without expecting a dime, the goal-to make the community a good place to live and raise children. Taxes were lower due to their contributions and frugal nature. I pray we can all continue working together to keep Illinois a good place to live.