100 years young
Century mark for former mayor Ed Formento
By Steve Metsch
Other than using a walker, you wouldn’t know Ed Formento turned 100 years old on July 5.
The former mayor of Willow Springs has a firm handshake to go along with his quick wit.
“I feel great. I look great,” said Formento.
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” joked friend and current Willow Springs Trustee Ernie Moon.
SUBSCRIBE TO RAY HANANIA'S COLUMN
Asked how it feels to be 100, Formento said, “I don’t feel any different than when I was 80.”
The party held Friday at Jen’s Guesthouse, 8989 Archer Ave., Willow Springs, was put together by Village Clerk Mary Jane Mannella.
As do many Willow Springs residents, she has a connection to Formento. Her late mother, Rose Mary O’Shea, was village clerk during Formento’s one term as mayor from 1993 to 1997. Formento had also served the village as a trustee.
“What I’m most proud of is I made a lot of accomplishments in office,” Formento said. “We brought many new (developments) in.”
Included was Courtright’s, a restaurant in the building that now is home to Jen’s Guesthouse. He also brought in the Illinois Billiard Club, got traffic lights with turn lanes on Archer and Nolton and helped bring a gas station to that intersection, to name a few accomplishments.
Willow Springs Village Clerk Mary Jane Mannella lights the candles on the 100th birthday cake of former mayor Ed Formento on July 5. Photo by Steve Metsch.
Formento still lives on his own in Willow Springs, as he has since 1997 when wife Dorothy passed away.
“If they get a senior center in Willow Springs, I’m staying,” he said.
Like many, he was sad to see the Willowbrook Ballroom, across the street from Jen’s, burn down in October 2016.
Formento said he was inspired to first run for office in an attempt to “clean up the town.”
“Mike Corbitt and I were enemies … When they killed Diane Masters and dumped her in the (canal), I became more vocal. I disliked Corbitt because he was crooked,” Formento said.
The late Corbitt was a former Willow Springs police chief. He was convicted in aiding in the murder of Diane Masters by her husband Alan.
“When they were sentencing him, I went down (to the courthouse) … I wanted him in jail so bad,” Formento said.
Asked if he’s happy with Willow Springs these days, Formento said, “Oh, yeah, absolutely. How could you not be happy with how Willow Springs is now?
Formento, who was born in the small town of Bevier, Mo., grew up in Chicago. “Our parents sent us to spend our summers in Bevier. We enjoyed it.”
Formento, who served in the Army during World War II, retired from Electro-Motive in 1984 after 38 years with the company. He and his wife adopted two children, Debra and the late Michael.
One hundred years “is a hell of a long time,” Formento said. “But when you’ve got good people behind you … Look around, See the nice people who showed up here today. What more do you want?”
Formento initially said “no party” when Mannella suggested having one. “Evidently,” he said with a smile, “that fell on deaf ears.”
Mannella presented Formento with a key to the village before he blew out the candles on his birthday cake.