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‘Happy Birthday’ Worth celebrates 100 years

Bill Conway 89 has lived his entire life same house Worth. |  Steve Metsch~Sun-Times Media

Bill Conway, 89, has lived his entire life in the same house in Worth. | Steve Metsch~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 31, 2014 2:10AM



Bill Conway chuckled when asked how Worth has changed since he was a boy.

“Oh, a lot,” Conway, 89, said at the village hall.“I’m still in the house I was born in over on Worth Avenue. There was farmland here and only a couple of hundred people. My father, Edward Conway, was mayor from 1930 to 1941. They used to have his photo on the wall here.”

Asked why Worth was a good place to live, he replied, “What’s wrong with it? It’s a nice town. Good people.”

Conway, who was grand marshall of the Worth Days Parade Aug. 24, was at the village hall Friday for a birthday cake to celebrate 100 years since Worth was incorporated as a village on Aug. 29, 1914.

He was among about 20 who each enjoyed a slice of cake that was baked by Doughs Guys in Chicago Ridge. Before the cake was cut, they all sang “Happy Birthday to Worth,” led by Mayor Mary Werner.

“We have a community that’s very good about paying it forward. I’m proud I get to represent the village for our centennial,” Werner said.

Claude Zivojinovic, 39, of Palos Hills, came to the birthday celebration with a Worth centennial quilt tucked under his arm. He won it in a raffle at Worth Days. He bought three or four $5 tickets.

The quilt features logos from various organizations such as the schools, scouts and veterans groups around the village.

“I’m donating it to the historical museum (at the Worth Park District). I took the quilt home and was laying on it. I was scared to spill anything on it. After I told them that I’d be donating it to the museum, the woman who made it (Celeste Cameron) said she’ll make me another quilt,” Zivojinovic said.

Also enjoying some cake were Jeff and Rose Ann Widdowson. On Wednesday, they will have lived in Worth for 20 years.

“We stay because this is a village of friendliness. Pay it forward has always been our motto. If someone does good for you, you should do that for someone else, too,” Rose Ann said.

Both volunteered at Worth Days. Rose Ann called bingo numbers and Jeff drove the shuttle bus to and from remote parking in the Metra train station lot.

“We like the carmerarderie of the people,” Rose Ann said. “The village, if we have any problems, is there right away. There was a water main break a few doors down, and (public works crews) were there in five minutes.”

Earlier Friday, the village’s birthday was celebrated at Worthwoods Elementary, Worth Elementary and Worth Junior High with 1,500 free cupcakes prepared by Doughs Guys for students.

Six teachers who grew up in Worth and now teach at village schools talked about what the village means to them, Werner said.

A dozen roses and a new crown were given to Linda Esposito, assistant principal at the junior high, “because they discovered back in 1981 she was named ‘Miss Worth’ at Worth Days. It was very cute,” Werner said.

“One of the things I think is very special about this community is the relationships we form at a young age,” Werner said. “I told all the students to turn to the person to the left of them and to the right of them and shake their hands because there’s a very good chance those will be their friends for life.”



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