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Catalog Number 2015.027.001
Object Name Recording
Scope & Content Oral history interview of Gayle Bantner.

Interviewed by Darlene Greaves and Cliff Schultz, members of the Elk Grove Historical Society on July 2, 2008. Interview conducted at the school house building of the Elk Grove Historical Museum located at 399 Biesterfield Road, Elk Grove, IL. Interview length 53 m 45 sec. Collection includes audio recording, transcript, and digital image.

Digital image: 2015.027.003
Collection Elk Grove Historical Museum
Notes ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW SUMMARY GAYLE BANTNER 2008

0:00:00There is a brief summary of the houses that Gayle lived in and a discussion about his neighbors. Gayle explains that he came to Elk Grove to open a new store for his company, a Park N' Shop on Higgins and Arlington Heights which he eventually bought. Gayle goes on to talk about other work he did in Elk Grove including a position on the health board, the Police and Fire Commission and the Planning Commission, the Merchants Association as well as the Speaker's Board at Alexian Brothers.

00:05:00Gayle talks about his 43 year term with the Police and Fire Commission, explaining that the Commission was responsible for hiring all the police and fire personnel. He discusses the differences in the hiring process that he used compared to what is done today. Gayle discusses the appointment of Clifford by Hodlmair and the police chief Jenkins.

00:10:10Gayle recounts most memorable things from his time with the Police and Fire Commission. He talks about the transition between Clifford and Jenkins and an arson case that gave rise to a scandalous case. He then lists some of the people he hired who remained with the department for a long period of time. He reminisces about interesting things that came up in interviews.

00:15:05Gayle talks about his work with Alexian Brothers including what his role was, and what the Speaker's Bureau did. He goes on to discuss the Planning Commission did. Gayle was not a charter member of the Lion's Club, but he mentions that although a lot of the members he remembers are dead now, it is still going strong as an organization. They work to address blindness and diabetes. The membership is down now.

00:20:00His wife died in February 2006. His son, John, worked in the Elk Grove Police Department for 31 years. His daughters Kathy, Brenda and Sharon have moved away. Before they lived in Elk Grove they were living in Oak Lawn.


00:25:02Gayle describes what Elk Grove looked like when he moved to town. He goes on to talk about some of the people who ran the local businesses in town.

00:30:00Gayle talks about working in Palatine at the Park District. He talks about his wife's involvement with the Lady Lions, Women's Club, Ultra Society, and the church. Gayle discusses social aspects of working in a pharmacy that was open 24 hours a day.


00:35:00His son lives in Elk Grove still and he gets to see his fourteen grandchildren and nine great grandchildren often. Talks more about his business and the different employees he had over the years.

00:40:00Gayle gives advice to future commissioners and talks about changes in training that commissioners and board members go through nowadays. The fire and police departments were entirely male when he first started on them. The first female he hired was on the fire department about 25 years ago.

00:45:11Talks about the decision to hire the first woman and the concerns he had about how the other men would cope with the changes. The fire department was not as receptive as the police department was to having women working there. Recalls some of the women he hired.

00:50:00Talks about members of the Lions from when Gayle first became a member. Gayle discusses a treasure hunt that took place when the Park N' Shop first opened.

00:53:45END OF RECORDING


Source Elk Grove Historical Museum