Lillegard was first woman elected as a McHenry County village president in 1975

Ran Some Other Nuts in downtown McHenry

Rose Lillegard, 85, died Monday, May 1, 2023. She was the first woman elected as a village president in McHenry County, winning the Village of McHenry Shores election in 1975.

When the Village of McHenry Shores was incorporated, Rose Lillegard was the town’s first clerk.

In 1975, Lillegard was elected as its village president. According to news stories at the time, Lillegard was the first woman picked to lead a McHenry County village.

She passed away on May 1 at the age of 85, her family said.

Lillegard won the election with 121 votes, beating out the previous village president who earned 71 votes, and another challenger who had 63, according to news stories.

After leaving office in 1979, village officials wrote a proclamation, thanking her for her work.

“If she wanted to address the issue she had to be mayor to do it. Being elected would made things better.”

—  Rose Lillegard's sister Mary Lentini

McHenry Shores is no longer a village - residents later voted to dissolve the town - but Lillegard remembered those years fondly, said her sister, Mary Lentini, 88, of Libertyville.

“She ran for it ... and believed there were some things that could be - I don’t want to say made better - but instituted” for the tiny town, Lentini said. “She won the election and she ran with it. She was very proud of it.”

At the time, running for office was not a “woman’s thing,” Lentini said.

But her sister believed “if she wanted to address the issue she had to be mayor to do it. Being elected would made things better,” Lentini said.

After leaving office, Lillegard went on to open Some Other Nuts in downtown McHenry.

Located on Green Street, the store was in the former Ben Franklin’s storefront. According to an 1991 Northwest Herald story, Lillegard started in a 2,100-square-foot rented space there and went on to buy the adjacent unit. She eventually purchased the entire, 7,100-square-foot building and expanded again.

“She was always able to take on large challenges,” Lentini said.

Nuts were also in the family’s blood.

Their grandparents ran County Fair Nut Company in Chicago, said Lentini’s daughter Meriann Negovetich. Later, Lentini and Lillegard’s parents ran it as Ace Pecans, also in Chicago.

Lentini and her husband opened Some Other Nuts in Libertyville, and Lillegard opened her store with the same name in McHenry, Lentini said.

“We opened our own stores and got our product from our parent’s company,” Lentini said.

Their brother went on to found Terri Lynn Fundraising in Elgin, named after his daughter, Lentini said.

“We were always going nuts,” Lentini said.