Board of Trustees

Susan Decker
1998 - present

Susan Decker (Arlington Heights, Ill.)
  • Grandmother (Borghild Aanstad) survivor of the Eastland Disaster
  • Eastland Disaster Historical Society (Co-Founder; Vice President, and Trustee, 1998-present)
  • Hines Lumber Company (Executive Assistant, 1987-present)
  • GTAX (Executive Assistant, 1977-1987)
  • Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin, 1974-1977

George Drost
2004 - present

George Drost (Arlington Heights, Ill.)
  • Drost, Kivlahan & McMahon, Ltd. (Partner, 1987-present)
  • Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic (2002-present)
  • Council of Higher Education, Chicago (2002-present)
  • Village of Arlington Heights (Plan Commissioner, 1998-present)
  • Lutheran Home and Services for the Aged, Arlington Heights (Director, 1996-2003)
  • John Marshall Law School (Adjunct Professor, 1996-present)
  • John Marshall Law School/Masaryk University Exchange Program (participant, 1994-present)
  • Wheeling Township Mental Health Commission (Member, 1988-1993)
  • CoVest Banc, Des Plaines, IL (Director, 1987-2003)
  • Uhlich Children's Home, Chicago (Vice Chairman, Director/Officer, 1987-2002)
  • Parkside Human Services (Chairman, 1982-1984)
  • DoALL Company (Assistant General Counsel, 1974-1987)
  • Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service (1972-1974)
  • B.A., Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, 1969; University of Illinois Law School, Champaign, IL, 1970; J.D. degree, DePaul Law School, Chicago, IL (1972)

Liz Garibay
2005 - present

Liz Garibay (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Manager of Public Programs, Chicago History Museum (2006 - Present)
  • Senior Associate, The Garibay Group, Chicago (2003 - Present)
  • Curatorial Assistant, Peabody Museum, Harvard University (2000-2002)
  • Senior Exhibit Developer, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (1999-2000)
  • Exhibit Developer / Adult Course Instructor, Field Museum, Chicago (1997-2000)
  • Conducted archaeological investigations throughout the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Peru, Bolivia, and Italy.
  • National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, Robert E. McNair Foundation Fellow (various)
  • B.A. (Anthropology and History), University of Illinois (1995)
  • Graduate work in Archaeology, Boston University and Harvard University (2000-2003)

Russell Lewis
2002 - present

Russell Lewis (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Chicago History Museum (Executive Vice President and Chief Historian)
  • Illinois State Historical Society (Board of Directors, 2001-present)
  • Street-Level Youth Media (Board of Directors; past President)
  • Organization of American History; Urban History Association; American Historical Association; National Council on Public History; American Association of Museums; Midwest Museum Association
  • B.A. (Anthropology), University of Florida, 1973; M.A. (American Culture), University of Michigan, 1976; Ph. D. Candidate, Museum History

Barbara Decker Wachholz
1998 - present

Barbara Decker Wachholz (Arlington Heights, Ill.)
  • Grandmother (Borghild Aanstad) survivor of the Eastland Disaster
  • Eastland Disaster Historical Society (Co-Founder; Vice President, Secretary, and Trustee, 1998-present)
  • Mississippi Valley Airlines, Moline, Illinois (Executive Assistant, 1982-1985)
  • Gould Corp, Schaumburg, Illinois (Executive Assistant, 1978-1982)
  • St. James Parish Community Theater, Arlington Heights, Illinois (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, 2000; Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music, 2001; Lead role in Cinderella, 2002)
  • St. Peter Lutheran Church, Arlington Heights, Illinois (Contemporary Christian group)
  • Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin, 1977-1978

Ted Wachholz
1998 - present

Ted Wachholz (Arlington Heights, Ill.)
  • Eastland Disaster Historical Society (President, Executive Director, and Trustee, 1998-present)
  • Author of The Eastland Disaster, published by Arcadia Publishing, the nation's largest publisher of local history (2005)
  • Thriving Historical Societies, Arlington Heights, Illinois (Founder/Consultant, 2003-present)
  • Primerica Financial Services, Arlington Heights, Illinois (District Manager, 1997-present)
  • Computer Sciences Corporation, Schaumburg, Illinois (Service Recovery Technician, 2003-present)
  • Motorola, Inc., Schaumburg, Illinois (Manager, Customer Services, 1990-1994; Telecommunications Analyst, 1994-2003)
  • Elliotts' Off Broadway Deli, Elmhurst, Illinois (Owner and President, 1995-1997)
  • John Deere, Moline, Illinois (various positions, 1979-1987; Division Manager, 1987-1990)
  • Illinois State Historical Society, Springfield, Illinois (Advisory Board, 2002-present)
  • St. Peter Lutheran Church, Arlington Heights, Illinois (Investment Advisory Board, 1999-present)
  • B.S. (Math & Computer Science), Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, 1980, cum laude
National Advisory Council

Jay Bonansinga
2005 - present

Jay Bonansinga (Evanston, Ill.)
  • Novelist, screenwriter, filmmaker
  • Author of the Sinking of the Eastland: America's Forgotten Tragedy (2004).
  • Author of best-seller Frozen
  • Author of seven additional acclaimed suspense novels
  • Three original screenplays currently in development in Hollywood
  • Received Superior Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society for the Sinking of the Eastland: America's Forgotten Tragedy (2005).
  • Finalist for a Bram Stoker Award for best first novel
  • Awarded the prestigious silver plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival for his directing
  • An accomplished short story writer, with numerous tales published in leading magazines
  • B.A. (Film), University of Michigan, 1986; M.A. (Film), Columbia University (Chicago), 1988
  • Visiting professor at Northwestern University (Chicago)
  • Member of the Writers Guild of America and the Horror Writers Association

Jean Decker
2004 - present

Jean Decker (Arlington Heights, Ill.)
  • Mother-in-law (Borghild Aanstad) survivor of the Eastland Disaster
  • Eastland Disaster Historical Society (Vice President, Treasurer, and Trustee, 1998-2004)
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield (Personnel, 1948-1956)
  • NBC/Radio WJJD (Secretary, 1946-1948)
  • NBC/TV including Hawkins Falls, Ransom Sherman Show, Chicago Show of Shows (actress, 1946-1947)
  • Tracy Sisters (professional singer, 1946-1947)
  • USO camp shows (1945-1946)
  • Fifth Army Headquarters (1944-1945)
  • Crowned Miss Business Machines of Chicago (1952)
  • Crowned Miss White Collar Girl of Chicago (1953)
  • Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, 1950-1951

Earl Gallas
2006 - present

Earl Gallas (Peoria, Ill.)
  • Great-grandfather (Edward Stamm) survivor of the Eastland Disaster
  • AmerenCilco, formerly Central Illinois Light Company (1965-2004; Supervisor, Construction Projects, 1976-1992; Senior Engineer, Substation Engineering; retired, 2004)
  • Berks County (Pa.) Genealogical Society (Member, 1990-present)
  • Salem Lutheran Church (Chairman, Endowment Fund; Men's Club)
  • Institute for Learning in Retirement (Bradley University)
  • Illinois Valley Striders (running club)
  • B.S. (Construction Engineering), Bradley University, 1963; Certificate (Business Management), Bradley University, 1983
  • Born in Chicago; early childhood years spent in Cicero, Illinois
  • Graduate of Morton East High School, Cicero, Illinois

Carol Gilchrist
2004 - present

Carol Gilchrist (Nokomis, Fl.)
  • Mother (Marie Homola Hrabacka) survivor of the Eastland Disaster
  • Gobles Public Schools, Gobles, Michigan (Advisory Board)
  • Owned and operated three nursery schools for 37 years in and near Gobles, Michigan (1965 - 2002)
  • Acquired Child Developmemt Credential (1965)
  • Began first nursery school in Van Buren County, Michigan (1965)
  • Gobles Public Schools, Gobles, Michigan (Academic Hall of Fame)
  • Early childhood years spent in Berwyn, Illinois

Bob Jerich
2004 - present

Bob Jerich (Countryside, Ill.)
  • Eastland Disaster Historical Society (Trustee, 2002-2004)
  • Lucent Technologies (Midwest Director of Media Relations and Philanthropy, retired 2001)
  • AT&T National Public Relations Professional Award (1992)
  • Support Center of Chicago (Chairman); Little Village Community Council (Vice President); Cicero Chamber of Commerce and Industry (President); Cicero Economic Development Commission; Morton College Foundation (Board of Directors); ASPIRA of Chicago (Board of Directors)
  • Chicago Association of Business Communicators; Publicity Club of Chicago; Chicago Area Public Affairs Group; Chicago Press Club; Chicago Area Contributions and Discussions Group
  • Pi Delta Epsilon, National Honorary Journalism Fraternity
  • B.A. (Major-Economics, Minor-Business/Journalism), Western Illinois University, 1965

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