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Village Clerk Nystrom retiring, leaving legacy of service

Woodridge resident Eileene “Sam” Nystrom, 81, a village clerk, former deputy village clerk and former assistant to the mayor, who will be remembered for her service to the community, is retiring on April 30.

Nystrom first moved to the village in 1967. Shortly thereafter, she started working for the Village of Woodridge. When Nystrom retires next month, she’ll be capping off a career that spans more than 40 years.

Woodridge Mayor Gina Cunningham said Nystrom had a great vision for shaping the Office of the Village Clerk.

“We all thank her for her dedication to service and volunteerism,” she said. “We wish her the very best. We hope to see a lot of her in and around Woodridge.”

Nystrom said she likes to think she’s leaving her post in the best possible position for the village to fill her vacancy. The joy she holds for serving the community cannot be refuted, she said.

“Public service is a wonderful career because if you like people and like helping people, it can be a marvelous career,” Nystrom said. “It gives back to you as you giveback to others. You don’t make a lot of money, but there’s a lot of satisfaction.”

The hope, according to Nystrom, is that her time devoted to the village will not be for naught.

“The clerk’s office is always a place where people can over and see where they should go,” she said. “We then guide them to the proper department.”

Nystrom said one of her favorite parts of working for the Village of Woodridge occurs around election time.

“We registered voters who are new to the area and for young residents,” she said. “At election time, we get a lot of people in the office. It was a place where people could get a few answers to questions about whose running.”

Cunningham gave credit to Nystrom for transforming the Office of the Village Clerk over the years to better meet the community’s needs.

“She truly is an inspiration, someone that has led the way in Woodridge,” she said. “Years ago, things were done on paper. Because of her diligence, she converted the records to microfiche, and it has brought the village clerk’s office to where it is today. It’s a testament to her.”

Nystrom said of her most proud accomplishments, she would cite her effort to set up the village with its own codifying system to maintain record of ordinances.

“When ordinances are approved, they’re written by a village attorney,” she said. “You can’t print that ordinance on paper the way it is written in books. Residents wouldn’t be able to understand all the legal jargon.”

That’s when Nystrom decided to conduct research on codifier systems. The Village of Woodridge started working with Sterling Codifiers to put municipal laws in codified form for residents to browse.

Nystrom said it should also be noted that as the village changed over the years, so did the Office of the Village Clerk.

“As deputy clerk, I was responsible for running the Office of the Village Clerk,” she said. “I did a lot of research on how other communities run their village clerk’s office. I framed ours similar to Downers Grove and put my own spin on it.”

Nystrom said she hopes to continue being involved in the community moving forward.

“Being involved is key to being a help to residents,” she said. “They know where to find you and get their problems resolved.”

Nystrom intends to get more involved in the activities and lives of her two daughters and six granddaughters upon retiring.

Nystrom will also continue her involvement in a number of local community organizations, including the Municipal Clerks of DuPage County, League of Women Voters of Downers Grove, Woodridge and Lisle, and the Woodridge Special Events Committee.

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