The DeKalb County Community Foundation is pleased to announce the Chuck Criswell Memorial Scholarship Fund. Awarded annually, this new scholarship is intended for a Sycamore High School graduate with a track record of service to the community who has intent to enroll in a trade school, college, or university. The financial need of the student/family will be a key factor in the scholarship consideration with the award going to the student in the greatest need.
Chuck Criswell moved to Sycamore with his mom and siblings when he was in the third grade. In his junior year, coach and teacher Pete Johnson helped him get into the Diversified Occupations program so he could help his mom support the family. Chuck always looked up to Mr. Johnson and thought of him as a father figure.
After high school, Chuck married Terry Kelley and they had three children, Tammie, Shelley, and Charles Jr. (Chip). In 1967, Chuck started working at University Volkswagen on the wash rack. He went from wash rack to mechanic to service manager before opening up his own shop, Chuck’s Auto Center, in 1990. “Quality work at a fair price” was Chuck’s motto.
Throughout his adult life, Chuck found many ways to give back to Sycamore. He started the Turning Back Time car show in 2000 and ran it for 12 years until back surgeries stopped him and he had to step down. Chuck believed all money should stay in Sycamore to help out the community. Chuck also hosted the Baby Boomer Bash class reunions for the classes of 1960-69 for several years. He was featured in the Sycamore History Museum exhibit “Faces of Sycamore” from April 2016 to April 2017.
Chuck passed away in early 2016 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. In 2018, he was inducted posthumously into the Sycamore High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. “Chuck loved Sycamore, the community, and the people,” said the Criswell Family. “His life proved it doesn’t matter if you are financially well off or what side of town you live on. What matters is working hard, caring for others, and giving with all of your heart. With this scholarship, the celebration of Chuck’s life and his desire to give back to the community will live on each year.”
Donations to any fund at the Community Foundation, including the Chuck Criswell Memorial Scholarship Fund, can be made online, or by mail to the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore, IL 60178. For questions or additional information on funds, please contact Executive Director Dan Templin at 815-748-5383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured: Chuck Criswell. Community philanthropist and Sycamore High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame inductee.