Betty M. Sanford Cheever
1928 - 2021
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Betty M. Sanford Cheever

Born: September 10, 1928

Died: January 15, 2021

Betty M. Cheever, 92, of Downers Grove, IL, passed away on 1/15/21. She was born in Shelby, MI, on 9/10/1928 to Jessie and Clare Sanford.

Her early years were at a fruit farm east of Shelby, but her parents sold the farm and moved into town as her father went to work for the Oceana County Road Commission when she was entering 3rd grade. Betty showed an aptitude for business both in school and in employment at the movie theater and the town telegraph office where she used Morse Code. After graduating from high school, she went to Chicago and graduated from the Gregg Business School. She returned to Shelby to work full time as a legal secretary in the Hinds and Sickenga law offices. Her next job was with the US State Department in Washington DC and she was about to depart for a secretary job in the US embassy in Canberra, Australia, when Lyle Cheever drove to Washington DC and proposed marriage. They were married on 6/28/1958 in the Shelby Congregational Church.

They moved into an apartment in Downers Grove, IL near Argonne National Lab (ANL) where Lyle worked. Betty was hired at ANL as secretary in the Special Materials Division. She left work for years to raise a family of three children, Mary, Jim and Dan. On returning to ANL she became executive secretary to the deputy director working a total of 22 years at ANL while also serving on Downers Grove Commissions, the Village Council and for 16 years as the first woman mayor. While she was mayor the Village obtained Lake Michigan water, the Belmont Road underpass and the Lyman Woods Park. Betty was member of the League of Women Voters for over 50 years and served in various roles including Chapter president. The LWV work led her into local politics. She was a member of the First Congregational Church of DG and served a term as Lay Moderator. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Good Samaritan Hospital of DG. She was host mother to Adriana Mendoza from Bogota Columbia who attended DG South High School for her senior year.

She is survived by her husband Lyle, her children, Mary Cheever (Mike Sarnowski), Jim Cheever, Dan (Julee) Cheever, her sister Sally Simmons, grandchildren Aaron, Alex, Madi and Zach. Betty was preceded in death by her parents, sister Dorothy and her brothers Wayne and Ken. Cremation remains burial services at the Mount Hope cemetery in Shelby and memorial services at the First Congregational Church of DG will be held later due to the pandemic. Memorial donations can be made directly to the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, or the Downers Grove/ Woodridge/Lisle League of Women Voters. Betty was an admired achiever and will be dearly missed by family and friends.


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Published in Suburban Life Publications on Jan. 28, 2021.
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Memories & Condolences
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5 entries
February 28, 2021
My deepest condolences to the entire Cheever family- family of my youth. Betty was a force of nature, a fascinating woman and a role model for what we as women can achieve. I was proud to campaign for her - handing out pamphlets at the train station before school with Mary. And still get a laugh at her waking Mary up on Saturday mornings by vacuuming around her bed. Love to you all. Betsy
Betsy Kalmar
Friend
February 28, 2021
My deepest condolences to the entire Cheever family- family of my youth. Betty was a force of nature, a fascinating woman and a role model for what we as women can achieve. I was proud to campaign for her - handing out pamphlets at the train station before school with Mary. And still get a laugh at her waking Mary up on Saturday mornings by vacuuming around her bed. Love to you all. Betsy
Betsy Kalmar
Friend
February 21, 2021
Betty was the best mom-in-law I could have ever asked for. She was smart, interesting and funny!! We had many long conversations when we visited eachother and I will miss that the most. She was loved by so many.
Julee Cheever
Family
January 29, 2021
We send hugs and sincerest condolences to Lyle and the whole family. Betty was a great friend to the Wheelers.
Norm Wheeler
Friend
January 27, 2021
May your memories of the wonderful times you shared with your loved one comfort you and your family, today and always.
American Heart Association
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