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Former Peoria Park District Director Bonnie Noble Dies At Age 80

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A Peoria icon has passed away. Former Peoria Park District executive director Bonnie Noble died last week at age 80.

Noble made history in 1973 as the first woman elected to the Peoria Park District board of trustees. She later became the board's chairwoman, and later still, the park district's executive director. That's a role she would hold for 24 years, until her 2016 retirement.

"She was an amazing teacher," said current park district director Emily Cahill, who succeeded Noble. "She was an absolute pioneer as a woman leader when there weren't a lot of women leaders in those kinds of public roles. We are blessed as a community, and I hope we never, ever take for granted the work that she did."

Cahill said Noble's legacy is seen throughout the park system - and not just on the administrative building which now bears her name.

"The big ticket items if you will are the RiverPlex Wellness and Recreation Center, the expansion of the Peoria Zoo, the Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum," Cahill said. "Certainly the expansion of public green space in our community."

Cahill asks park district visitors to take a moment to reflect on Noble's contributions this week.

"I hope that when they walk in the doors, they take a moment to pause and say 'thank you, Bonnie,'" said Cahill. "Because this system is here because of her tireless dedication to the park district."

Noble's family requests memorial contributions be made to the Peoria Park District Foundation in lieu of flowers.

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