Downers Grove Pays Tribute to Former Mayor Betty Cheever

January 16, 2021

It is with great sadness that the Village of Downers Grove mourns the passing of Former Mayor Betty Cheever. We offer condolences to the Cheever family on behalf of the entire community.

Betty Cheever was the first woman elected to serve as the Mayor of Downers Grove in 1983. She was elected to serve three more consecutive terms for a total tenure of 16 years. During this time of growth and change within the Village, she was ever mindful of the community's desire to maintain a balance between tradition and the necessity for progress.  

In this excerpt from a 1985 Chicago Tribune feature story, then Mayor Cheever describes her approach to public service:

''You have to listen very carefully to what the people say,'' explains Cheever, who has been mayor since 1983. ''Then you approach the problems by saying, 'How can you do what the people want you to do at any particular time?' If you can't do what they want, you must have a process to resolve the situation so the people feel they're getting a fair shake.''

Although she was first elected Mayor in 1983, her appreciation for the value and importance of resident input were honed by a commitment to a civic life. In 1975, prior to serving as Mayor, Betty Cheever was elected the first woman to serve as Village Commissioner, after having served on the Plan Commission for 8 years. While serving as Mayor, she was on the DuPage Water Commission, was president of the Mayors and Managers of DuPage in addition to being liquor commissioner for Downers Grove.  

Throughout her career she participated in a variety of activities for the betterment of the community including service on the board of police and fire commissioners, the forum to address cultural activities, the Total Community Development committee, and chaired the Heritage Festival. She served as president of the Downers Grove-Woodridge League of Women voters from 1969-1973 and she was a member of the board of the Illinois League of Women voters from 1974-1977. Betty Cheever was a tireless voting rights advocate and would go on to continue registering voters well into retirement.

Please join us as we grieve the loss of Betty Cheever and honor her accomplishments and lifelong dedication to the Village of Downers Grove.