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Memorial Services Planned for Woodridge's Longest Serving Superintendent

The Woodridge Village Board observed a moment of silence in memory of Thomas A. Tousignant at its September 27 meeting.

A memorial service is planned later this month for Thomas Alan Tousignant,  Woodridge School District 68's longest serving superintendent of schools. The Memorial Service will be held in South Carolina, where he spent a portion of his retirement. Tousignant served as superintendent of schools for District 68 from 1962 to 1987.

The village board observed a moment of silence for Tousignant at the start of its September 27 meeting. Below is a copy of his obituary.

Thomas Alan Tousignant was called home by his maker to that Great Golf Course in Heaven on June 11, 2012 at Four Seasons Hospice in Flat Rock, North Carolina. Born in Oak Park, Illinois on October 11, 1932 to Alcide and Eleanor Tousignant, both from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Eldest of five children, Tom, Pat, Byron, Renee and Richard, they all graduated from La Grange Township High School and LaGrange Junior College.

Summoned to Fort Sill, he served in the US Army from 1953 to 1955 stationed in France. He completed his Bachelor Degree in Business Administration at Florida Southem on the GI Bill. He then completed a Bachelors degree in Education at Northern Illinois University where he completed a Master's in School Administration and did more graduate work.

He dearly loved golf starting as a caddy at a young age. He was a "Lefty" and over the years he had four holes-in-one. He was in his mid 70s when he hit his last one at Glen Cannon Golf Course in Brevard. In retirement on Hilton Head Island he hit 3 holes-in-one at Dolphin Head Golf Club where he was a member l7 years. He was also an avid tennis player all his life and at Spring Lake Tennis Head Plantation, often surprising opponents by switching hands for a backhand.

While in retirement, he was always working at part-time jobs and managed some condominium complexes. He also served as an Elder at First Presbyterian Church of HHI.

In 1958, he began teaching math and social studies to Junior High students in Berwyn, Illinois. He also married the girl across the street, Patricia Mitchell, in Western Springs. She was a Valparaiso University graduate, and they both had teaching positions in different Berwyn schools. Newlywed, they lived in Riverside, Illinois and loved to spend weekends exploring Chicago.

The couple moved to DuPage County to their first home, and both were offered teaching positions in the rapidly growing suburb of Woodridge. He also served as an assistant principal, and the school board offered him the position of Superintendent of Schools the next year when he was 30 years old.

That year he became father to the first of two daughters, Hillary Stewart (now living in St. Louis Park, Minnesota) and Carrie Cain (now living in Hardeeville, South Carolina). The family lived in Glen Ellyn, and he served as Woodridge Superintendent of Schools for 25 years.

Under his leadership the small rural district comprised of two schools grades 1- 8, grew to seven schools with an added Kindergarten and Junior High.

The home building surge of the 60s hit the struggling district and there were constant referendums and tax hikes to pass to educate the populace. Besides keeping up with rapid growth, he helped establish noteworthy curriculums and a commendable staff.

With the guidance and help of wonderful school board members, some from the nearby Fermi and Argonne National Labs, they developed a strong math and science curriculum as well as environmental courses in outdoor education. They had notable art and music education, and one year had the National Spelling Bee champion.

Tom was also very frugal and kept the district budget in the black. He hired the first African-American teacher in DuPage county in 1968 and helped lead the development of a Countywide Special Education School for children with special needs, which was built in Naperville.

He chaired no less than five statewide and countywide groups and completed more graduate courses at Northern Illinois and DePaul University in Chicago. He served as Legistative Liaison for DuPage County to the Illinois Legislature in Springfield for four years.

He truly knew the value of a good education for every child and the community and nation as a whole. Tom had a droll sense of humor and was a friend to many. He was a quiet and unassuming man who loved his children and golf. He excelled at individual sports like tennis and skiing as well as bowling and ping-pong. He loved to tell a good joke and is missed by many. He was a fond uncle to Kathy and Susie; Jenny and Amy; Stacy and Ritchie; Chris, Sandy, and Leslie; and Jason and Juliette.

In 1994, his pride and joy. McKenna Alexandra Wojick, granddaughter, was born to Hillary on Hilton Head. He never tired of playing with her, teaching her, and later—when she moved to Minnesota—phoning her. In 2001, he and Pat moved to Hendersonville, North Carolina where they enjoyed the coolness and beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He was active in the Henderson County Democratic Party where he served as treasurer for several years and several campaigns.

He lived a full life of 79 years, which he shared with Pat, his wife of more than 53 years. She cared for him in his final months and days. As for Tom, they just don't make 'em like that anymore.

There will be a special Memorial Ceremony on October 20 at 4 p.m. to inter his remains to the Columbarium at the First Presbyterian Church of Hilton Head Island for friends and family.

 

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