Jim Hanson, former Batavia alderman and Citizen of the Year and superintendent of the Kane County Regional Office of Education from 1975-1987, and Julie Vallejo, assistant regional school superintendent from 1993-2007, each passed away earlier this week.
“Both Jim and Julie were influential in our Kane County public school system, and especially at the Kane County ROE,” said Regional Superintendent Patricia Dal Santo. “Jim graduated valedictorian from Batavia High School and was the city of Batavia’s Citizen of the Year in 2013. Julie served as a principal and as a district administrator in East Aurora 131 before coming to the ROE. She was influential in establishing best practices and partnerships and especially enjoyed coordinating the Educator of the Year awards banquet. Our hearts are with their families and friends during this time.”
Visitation and services for Hanson are set for Saturday, June 13. (See below.) Services are pending for Vallejo.
Hanson was referred to as “a gentleman of tremendous grace and dignity,” when he was named the 2013 Batavia Citizen of the year. At the ceremony, Mayor Jeffery D. Schielke described Hanson as “a caregiver of Batavia on so many fronts and a phenomenally positive force.”
Elected as an alderman in 1961, Hanson also served as the chair of what at that time was known as the planning, zoning, and annexation committee. During his 16-year tenure, downtown’s Batavia Plaza came into being, and land was acquired north of Wilson Street for additional downtown redevelopment. This area now includes Fifth Third Bank and neighboring businesses.
Schielke referenced Hanson’s work to pass an open housing ordinance. During the late ’60s, heated discussions about discrimination in housing bubbled to the surface. At this time, U.S. Atomic Nuclear Commission officials planning to build a “smasher” east of Kirk Road, pressured Batavia about fair housing. Hanson says that this is a highlight of his career as a council member.
“One of the most important things I worked on was the open housing ordinance to fight discrimination and segregation,” says Hanson. “It needed to have teeth for enforcement.”
Besides his long-term involvement in Batavia’s government, an avid group of supporters notes that Hanson’s work with the Batavia Historical Society, the Calvary Episcopal Church, the Interfaith Food Pantry, R.S.V.P., and Meals on Wheels are worthy accomplishments as well.
James Hanson Obituary
SOURCE: Moss Family Funeral Home
James L. Hanson, 89, of Batavia, passed away on June 4, 2015. He was born on October 26, 1925 in Geneva, IL, the son of Claude and Marguerite (Wagner) Hanson.
After graduating from Batavia High School as valedictorian of the 1943 class he received degrees from Lawrence College and the University of Illinois. For many years he was an educator in the West Aurora schools teaching social studies to junior high school students. Later he was elected Kane County Superintendent of Schools, a position he held for 12 years.
He was an alderman on the Batavia City Council for 16 years acting as chairman of its Planning and Zoning Committee.
After retiring he volunteered for local service agencies which helped those in need.
In recognition of his service to the City of Batavia and its people he was named Citizen of the Year in 2013. For his leadership in education he was included in the Batavia Public Schools Hall of Honor.
James is survived by his wife of 61 years, Dorothy; two sons, John (Barbara) of Texas and Mark (Doreen) of New York; four grandchildren, Donovan, Cara (Nelson), Kathryn and Thomas; two great-grandchildren, Ryan and Linden.
Visitation will be held 9 A.M. until 11 A.M. Saturday, June 13, 2015 in Memorial Hall at Calvary Episcopal Church 222 S. Batavia Ave., Batavia, IL.
Funeral Services will immediately follow visitation at 11 A.M.
Memorial contributions may be directed to Calvary Episcopal Church or the charity of your choice.