Edward “Ted” Sherwood, mayor of Des Plaines from 1993 to 1997, passed away on March 11. Here’s a collection of memories from those who knew him, worked with him and remembered him fondly. Share your memory of Ted Sherwood in the comments section below.
Patricia Beauvais, First Ward Alderman from 1993 to 2009
Beauvais recalled getting her start in public office at the same time Sherwood became mayor in 1993.
At the time, she said, there was a lot of discussion about what to do about the old barrel parking deck alongside the railroad tracks, Beauvais said, which required extensive repairs at an approximate cost of $2 million. During one of those discussions, Beauvais said, everyone but Beauvais appeared to be in favor of fixing the parking deck.
“When it came to me, I said, absolutely not,” Beauvais said. “It’s ugly; it needs to come down. The residents want it down; I’m voting to take it down.”
Other aldermen were upset with her, Beauvais said.
“And Ted said, wait a minute, after everybody was screaming at me, I agree with her,” Beauvais said. “So it was kind of a neat thing to have somebody step up and agree with me.”
Beauvais said she was the youngest city council member at the time, and the only woman on council. She said the two occasionally met for lunch following his term as mayor.
“Ted was truly a father figure to me,” Beauvais said.
That’s not to say they always agreed on issues, Beauvais said.
“There were times that Ted would really take me under his wing, and then there were times he was madder than a hornet at me,” Beauvais said.
Sherwood was not your typical politician, Beauvais said.
“There was no middle of the road with him; you always knew where he stood, and that was most honorable about him,” Beauvais said.
Through the ups and downs, Beauvais said, Sherwood was fair.
“There were good times, and there were bad times, but you always knew that Ted’s heart was in the right place, whether you agreed with him or not, his heart was in the right place,” Beauvais said. “He stood for what he believed in, and you can’t ask for any more.”
Jim Curley, Fifth Ward Alderman from 1993 to 1997
One thing he remembered about Sherwood, Curley said, was him and his wife, Jean, driving around Des Plaines, taking notes about anything that detracted from the cleanliness and the beauty of the city.
“He was very interested in that, in the beautification of Des Plaines,” Curley said. “He spent a lot of time on that; then he would come into city hall the next day and call whatever department needed to be called to clean it up.”
Another story Curley recalled about Sherwood occurred during a meeting with residents of a trailer park at a restaurant on the south side of the city.
Curley spoke to the residents, he said, and Sherwood spoke as well.
“I think while I was talking somebody said, oh, there’s a man sort of lurking around the back listening,” Curley said. “So Ted got his Irish up and went back to see who it was, and the guy took off running.”
Sherwood ran after the man, Curley said.
“He chased him for a ways; it turned out to be Marty Moylan, we found out later,” Curley said.
Moylan was at the meeting spying on them for another candidate, Curley said, and may have took off running because he felt guilty.
“Ted was a stickler for honesty,” Curley said.
Curley recalled another time, on Thanksgiving Day, when Sherwood, himself and another man pulled weeds and raked trash at Apache Park.
“Ted was willing to roll up his sleeves, and physically go to work and correct something that was unsightly or not being taken care of,” Curley said.
Sherwood got mad at him once, Curley said, because Curley was the only alderman to vote against allowing a casino to be built in Des Plaines.
“We got over it,” Curley said. “He didn’t stay mad forever; he didn’t hold a grudge.”
Current acting Mayor Dick Sayad
Acting Mayor Dick Sayad remembered Sherwood as one of the people who helped him get his start in politics, he said.
“It was Mayor Sherwood at the time and Alderman Dan Kissinger who started me in politics,” Sayad said. “Alderman Kissinger was retiring, they were looking for someone, and I was talking to him and Mayor Sherwood, and they gave me the insight and the encouragement to continue to run for mayor or run for alderman, and I did.”
Sayad said Sherwood gave him support when he ran against Marty Moylan for mayor of Des Plaines in 2009.
“He was a good friend; he was there when I needed to ask him any questions and, as a mayor, he was one of our finer mayors,” Sayad said. “He had the City of Des Plaines in his heart, he showed it in the things that he did, and he will be really well-missed.”
Sherwood wanted to move the city forward, Sayad said.
“He always wanted to take Des Plaines, and move it up to the next level,” Sayad said. “He found areas that needed improvement, and he went out and did them.”
Sherwood was a detail-oriented mayor, Sayad said, committed to making Des Plaines a betted place to live.
“He did a lot of great things for our city,” Sayad said.