Maryann Buehler, of Trevor, embraces her sister, Geri Tarsa, during a March 6 drive-by parade celebrating Maryann’s 80th birthday. Maryann’s daughter Wendy Suhling, of Yorkville, looks on in the background and snaps photos (Jason Arndt/The Report).

Family, friends celebrate woman’s 80th

By Jason Arndt
Editor

Maryann Buehler had a traditional birthday dinner with her friends on March 5.

Her friends, however, didn’t tell her what would happen the next day outside her Center Lake Woods home in Trevor as dozens of vehicles carrying Buehler’s friends and family honked their horns in a parade to celebrate her 80th birthday.

Buehler, mother to six adult children and 15 grandchildren, was simply taken aback by the surprise and jokingly asked why no one told her.

“The friends I went out to dinner with last night – you’d think they would have said something – but no,” said Buehler, who struggled to hold back tears.

“This is overwhelming, it makes me cry, it just feels so special and I don’t feel I deserve it.”

But according to her daughter, Wendy Suhling, of Yorkville, the overwhelming love is something the family wanted to do.

Buehler, according to Suhling, typically doesn’t ask for much and always puts other’s needs before her own.

“She is the best woman in the whole world and we wanted to do something special for her because we all love her,” said Suhling, wife to John.

“(My mother) is a very positive person, very outgoing, smiling all of the time and always finds the good in everything.”

Initial plans
Buehler’s family originally planned on taking her to Hawaii, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic and logistical traveling concerns, they opted for a drive-by parade.

Granddaughter Casandra Henningfeld, Suhling’s daughter, said Buehler’s family lives across the country.

“What sparked the parade is we were going to celebrate her 80th birthday in Hawaii, but because of COVID, you can’t travel,” said Henningfeld, of Sturtevant, who is married to Kyle and has a daughter Genevieve.

Regardless of plans, according to Wendy, her mother rarely looks for extravagant surprises.

“She didn’t want us to do anything for her birthday,” she said.

“It was a well-kept secret, even her friends who went to dinner with her last night didn’t tell her.”

Busy grandmother
Buehler, originally from the Chicago area, worked as a nurse’s aide at a northern Illinois school district and State Farm Insurance before retiring to Trevor.

While Buehler lived in northern Illinois, she recalls spending time as a child in Center Lake Woods, where her parents had a summer home and eventually returned to the area.

Since then, Buehler became treasurer of Center Lake Woods while remaining active as a grandmother and great-grandmother to eight children, according to sister Geri Tarsa.

Tarsa, of Antioch, Illinois, said Maryann stays in constant contact with her family.

Buehler’s adult children live in Antioch, Illinois, Yorkville, Temecula, California, Long Grove, Illinois, Lindenhurst, Illinois and Twin Falls, Idaho.

Meanwhile, Buehler’s grandchildren extend further, with some living in Kentucky, Washington, Colorado, Tennessee and Florida.

“She is a great person, has a terrific personality. Everybody loves her,” said Geri. “She always wants to make somebody, always.”

Maryann, meanwhile, considers herself fortunate to still play an active role in the family while serving the community.

“I have been really, really lucky, and I feel good. And at 80, that is really important, so far so good,” said Maryann.

 
 

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