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Pagni named Woman of Year by Elgin Altrusa Club



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Updated: June 2, 2013 6:10AM

ELGIN — The Altrusa International Club of Elgin Inc. has named Lillian Pagni of Hampshire the recipient of its Woman of the Year-2013 award.

Pagni will be honored at the 64th Annual Woman of the Year Recognition Dinner at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at Villa Olivia Country Club in Bartlett.

The local Altrusa Woman of the Year Award began in 1950 when Harriet Armstrong was recognized as the first recipient. Since then, a long line of dedicated local women have been honored for their volunteer service to the greater Elgin area community, according to a release from the club.

“Lillian is an inspiration,” said Dr. Clare Ollayos, Altrusa Woman of the Year committee chair. “As a volunteer, artist and author, she is joyful in giving back to her community, Presence Saint Joseph Hospital and the creative community throughout the Fox Valley. Lillian’s paintings are vibrant and impressionistic, and her writings are tender and with compassion. Faith, family and friends are of the utmost importance to her.”

In 2010, Pagni realized her dream to create an art gallery, The Healing Gallery, at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital in Elgin, where local artists could exhibit their work. Pagni believes that art is a natural force to promote health and well-being, and can improve a person’s outlook.

She came up with the idea with her friend, the late Sister June Does, OSF, who was the first emeritus member of the Altrusa International Club of Elgin.

Pagni has chaired numerous fundraising activities at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital and received its prestigious DOVE award in 2005 for demonstrating outstanding values, leadership and excellence. Each year, she reads to children at the hospital’s annual “Caroling and Caring” holiday event, the release said.

A author and publisher of two books — “The Christmas Tree That Never Was” and “Maggie and Her Three Swans” — Pagni donated the proceeds to help others. She also has donated her artwork to many local and Chicago area nonprofits for charitable events.

Pagni’s artistic talents and leadership extend outside of the Elgin community. She has donated her works of art to worthy causes, including donating her beloved painting of the late Walter Payton to the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation for Children. Her paintings of Michael Jordan, Mike Singletary, Frank Thomas and Tiger Woods have all been donated to children’s charities, according to the release.

Pagni is a member of the Fine Line Creative Art Center in St. Charles, where she exhibits her Tuscany landscapes and life-like animal kingdom-inspired pastel oil artwork. She hosts and sponsors plein-air painting events on the grounds of her home for local artists.

She also is an integral part of the development committee for the building of a new church at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Hampshire and leads the parish Rosary ministry, the release said.

Deadline for reservations for the recognition dinner is Saturday, May 11. For information and reservations, call Priscilla Nagreen at 847-791-4764.

Altrusa International Club of Elgin Inc. is an international service organization comprised of executive and professional women. The Altrusa Club of Elgin sponsors a number of projects in the community through volunteerism and monetary support. Members reside throughout the Northern Fox Valley area including Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Dundee, Sleepy Hollow, Carpentersville, Algonquin, Bartlett, Hampshire, Huntley and Pingree Grove.

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