2017 Grand Parade Marshals - Dan & Mary Ann Kirsch
When lifelong Bourbonnais resident Mary Ann Rivard married Momence-born Dan Kirsch on October 26, 1957, Kankakee County gained one of their best, and sweetest community assets. In addition to raising an active family of four, they were respected members of their workplaces, and spent countless hours in community volunteerism and activism.
Mary Ann began a work career in the late 50’s that began in local law offices. She became a court reporter, and ended up the first female Deputy Coroner in Kankakee County under the late Dr. James Ryan. After her tenure there ended, she began a second career as a feature writer and investigative reporter for the BB Herald. Because of her experience in law enforcement and investigation, she was part of the five-person investigative team responsible for solving the murder of 5-year-old Tara Sue Huffman. After her retirement from the newspaper, she wrote the true crime book, When Love Is Not Enough; a chronicle of the murders of Tara, and of Christopher Meyer.
Dan attended DeVry in the late 50’s, and quickly found his love of fixing all things electrical. He worked as a repairman for Montgomery Ward’s store in Kankakee, but began a long-time, fulfilling career at Kankakee Community College in 1970, shortly after the college opened. He was Director of Media for many years, but eventually began a long tenure as a teacher of electronics and computer repair in the Vo-Tech Department, where he had a large and bustling repair workshop. In addition to his day job, Dan spent countless hours in the evenings and summers repairing electronic equipment for local schools.
Dan and Mary Ann have never been the kind of people who thought they had enough to do with jobs and family. When it comes to giving of their time and talent, they were generous. Both were active in local politics for many years. Dan has worked sound for innumerable community events. They have been members of Maternity B.V.M. Church for decades, and as a member of St. Anne Sodality, Mary Ann introduced this area to the first pop-up market, The Country Store, which later evolved to the iconic Les Artisans Fair. Both Dan and Mary Ann spent countless hours volunteering for the 1975 Bourbonnais Centennial Celebration. That event “birthed” two organizations that still exist today; the Bourbonnais Friendship Festival, and the Bourbonnais Grove Historical Society. As a newspaper writer, Mary Ann’s editorials were instrumental in saving both the Perry Farm property and the LeTourneau Home. They are two of the longest-running continual volunteers to the Bourbonnais Friendship Festival; Dan has worked on sound and other technical aspects, and Mary Ann assists with scholarship applications and parade write-ups.
These days, Mary Ann is an avid quilter, knitter, and gardener. Dan has transformed his repair workshop to a stained glass studio, and has been a fixture on the local craft show circuit for many years. They live in Bourbonnais with their Keeshond dogs, Justin and Lily. They have three daughters and sons-in-law; Amy and Joe Delmore, Valerie Goldfain and Butch Hovarter, Ellen and Larry Stringer, a son and daughter-in-law, Jon Kirsch and Denise Buckley, and grandsons Bobby Delmore, Luke and Dan Goldfain, Aidan and Joey Stringer, and granddaughters Rhiannon Stringer and Katie Delmore. All of Dan and Mary Ann’s children and grandchildren have been Bourbonnais Friendship Festival Volunteers. This October, they will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.