Last week, 111 lost its eighth board member, and by most accounts, the Association’s biggest “troublemaker” ever. Dearly loved by some, sadly misunderstood by many, here we eulogize, raise up and pay our respects to the one of a kind 111 personality, in memory of Ginny Hourigan.
First to clarify, by our governing documents, the board at 111 is composed of seven members. But if you knew Ginny, you wouldn’t know it. Other than sitting in the audience and not donning an official name-card, Ginny was as involved, and especially as informed, as any director. And by any standard, she was arguably our most prolific.
It was Ginny who instituted Robert’s Rules of Order for all board meetings. She is why financial transparency is top of mind. She is why we fight the good fight for fiscal responsibility. She is why we so ardently for resident security and safety. Most of all, Ginny is why adherence to our rules and especially Illinois law, and the lack thereof, is ever present here.
Why such a stickler for the rules? Because she abhorred demagogues and shady deals. Because she saw that deference to the law was the only way a democratic institution and especially a condominium can work. According to Ginny, “It is the only way we can treat each other equally and fairly.” That is what Ginny was all about.
Okay, some still look on her as an activist. Some say she could be an alarmist. Some of our lessor angels try to reduce her calling her “the consummate utz.” She was certainly and unrelentingly in our business. But she was tough as nails and impervious to the slings and arrows of her detractors.
And she had a big heart. She made it her mission to care for those on the street. She took in and nursed shelter animals. She read to the blind. She cherished her family.
If you had to sum her up in a sentence, Ginny was a proper born-and-raised New Englander, who wore her heart on her sleeve; and was feisty and unwavering about doing things “the right way.”
To capture that spirit, here we close with a choice quote for another New Englander, Robert Kennedy. In 1966, when Ginny was just graduating from college, he had made a noted speech. It was a special time in world history that apparently influenced her and sums her up best:
“These men and women moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that history is shaped. Each time a man or woman stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.”
Ginny had that essential character. And in her numberless diverse acts, she changed us. In that, we at 111 are deeply grateful. We will miss her always. Dear Ginny is dead. Long live her indomitable spirit.
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