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McCaleb: Crystal Lake loses one of its ‘pillars’

For the past couple of years, the Northwest Herald has celebrated the everyday heroes who make our communties better places to live.

We’ve defined these heroes as people who, simply out of the goodness of their hearts, donate their time and talents to help others around them.

Sadly, the Crystal Lake community lost one of its own everyday heroes last week.

Local attorney, businessman and philanthropist Bob Covey died Tuesday at the age of 92.

Covey’s résumé of public service is, well, inspiring.

He served two terms on the McHenry County Board. He was president of the District 47 school board. He was a longtime member of the Lions Club and a Mason. He helped found the United Way of McHenry County and the local CrimeStoppers chapter.

He was passionately involved with the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce for 63 years, and served as president in 1951. He was a chamber Ambassador Club member, and in 2003 the chamber named its Business of the Year award after him.

He received the Citizen of the Year Award in 1993 and the Carl E. Wehde Man of the Year Award in 2009.

“The legacy left by Bob Covey to this community is priceless,” said Patti Lutz, vice president of commercial banking at Home State Bank and a fellow Ambassador. “He embodied the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ in all that he involved himself with – law, banking, legislature, school board and community. He continued, actively, right through 2012, to review and discuss candidates for the Business of the Year award bearing his name. Bob was a mentor and a friend to me and to so many, whose enthusiastic and passionate presence will be sorely missed.”

From Jerry Shaffer, a retired commercial contractor and fellow chamber ambassador:

“Our community was enriched by his participation in nearly every worthwhile event shaping Crystal Lake. Bob Covey, Carl Wehde, Bill Dwyer, and Bob Blazier constituted the four major pillars of our recent society.”

Jean Marie Saidler, owner of JMS Consultations and also a fellow Ambassador, said Covey was “wicked smart, wildly funny” and who had “a loving heart worth more than gold.

“My last visit with him was just before the holidays,” Saidler said. “We discussed the importance of building leadership in our community, and his concerns about youth becoming active in many of the nonprofit groups we have here in Crystal Lake. He personified dedication and loved this community … and his beloved Wisconsin Badgers.  Mr. Covey was … is a humble, classy guy who will be very welcome in heaven.”

Funeral services for Covey were last night. Our condolences to his family.

While Covey no longer is with us physically, his legacy will live on.

• • •

Speaking of heroes: I was honored to attend Thursday’s Everyday Heroes awards breakfast at Crystal Lake Country Club celebrating 37 amazing people who selflessly give back to their communities.

This first-ever event followed the publication Feb. 23 of our Everyday Heroes special section. All of the honorees were nominated by Northwest Herald readers.

Those recognized include Jim Lalor of Woodstock, who volunteers weekly for Meals on Wheels and three times a week at Centegra Hospital – Woodstock; and Jayne Anderson, who volunteers regularly at the Cary Park District’s Kraus Senior Center.

To read these heroes’ stories or watch video interviews with them, visit

• • •

Get well soon: Best wishes to Don Peasley, who is recovering at Centegra Hospital-McHenry after suffering a stroke Feb. 27.

Peasley, 90, is a McHenry County icon, having documented this area’s history as both a journalist and a historian since 1947.

His collection of photographs of McHenry County’s past is a thing of legend.

Kathie Comella, an assistant of Peasley’s, said he’s expected to remain in the hospital undergoing therapy for a couple of more weeks.

“He’s really doing great. His speech sounds great,” Comella said. “He’s expected to come home in about two weeks and make a full recovery.”

Peasley’s columns appear each Sunday in the Northwest Herald. He has been writing for Shaw Media publications since 1950.

All of us at the Northwest Herald wish him a quick recovery.

• Crystal Lake resident Dan McCaleb is group editor of Shaw Media’s suburban publications, which include the Northwest Herald. He can be reached at 815-526-4603, or by email at Follow him on Twitter at @Dan_McCaleb.

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