BIO Index

Barbara Jillich

Hi, Everyone! My family moved to Sarasota in 1960 from Matteson, Illinois. Lacking only a half credit to graduate, I spent my Senior Year at SHS in a couple of business classes, American History with Coach Bill Lee, and the rest of the school day in the school office - where I met many of you and worked with the school staff!

After graduation, I went to work right away with temporary employment at Citizen's Bank and Trust in their Trust Department, and then full time employment was offered at a small law firm where classmate, Dottie Wheeler, and I worked for a while. From there, I was employed by EMR on Cattleman Road where I was assigned to the General Manager working with Top Secret space documents - which required a security clearance. EMR was going "full tilt" with the various space programs at the time, and the program we were working on was cut, so many of us had to leave. (The program I worked on turned out to be the foundation for today's space shuttle!).

Finding that I liked the law, in January, 1964, I came to work for an awesome attorney in the Palmer Bank building at Five Points. He had a private practice and was also an Assistant State Attorney whose job it was to prosecute felony crimes in our Circuit. Our Sarasota office was just him and me. The six (6) years I was with him flew right on by; it was fascinating work - and we had some notorious cases.

Also, in 1964, I married my husband who was employed at Norton's Camera Center on Main Street who was extremely talented in photography and film making. He also was employed by our local Army National Guard - so I learned a great deal about military service. We became "parents" to two (2) adorable dogs. In 1968 we were divorced.

In 1969, on Christmas Day, my attorney and I married, and shortly thereafter, I was promptly retired from working in the law field. The next 17 years were spent in helping raise his four (4) children, seeing them through their marriages, divorces and the birth of a grandchild, or two, while at the same time studying and becoming a Realtor (working with Realtor Reid Farrell), and at the same time becoming a Sarasota "socialite"! My husband and I had a great fondness for the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art so we volunteered at several Member's Council events, where I was either a Chairman or Co-Chairman of many of the gala themed dinner Courtyard parties where attendance was limited to 500 people. Tickets were only $20.00 to an event of this magnitude- can you believe that in this day and time?

Volunteer service for good causes became, and continues to be, of importance in my life. In 1974, I joined the GFWC Golden City Woman's Club of Sarasota, Florida. The club was associated with the General Federation of Woman's Clubs International (GFWC) and the Florida Federation of Woman's Clubs (FFWC). I have been associated with these organizations for 36 years, holding many leadership positions in my club, and FFWC. Ask me some time what we collectively have accomplished!!

Even with all of this activity going on in our lives, my husband and I had the opportunity to become world travelers, and take up snow skiing. Some of my most memorable travels were to the U.S. Virgin and British Virgin Islands, Australia, England , Paris (in April), China, Hong Kong, and Japan. We learned to ski in Vail, Colorado - and then it was trips to Switzerland, Aspen, and back to Vail.

Sadly, in 1987 my husband and I were divorced. It was then I had to figure out what I was going to do with my life, so I went to college, obtained a degree and took law classes. I sat for my national certification and in 1990, became a Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) - today known as a Certified Paralegal (CP). From 1990 until 1996, I worked at several area law firms trying to find the area of law that suited me best. In 1996, I joined the Boone, Boone, Boone, Koda & Frook, P.A. law firm in Venice, Florida where I have been employed for almost 16 years. My area of law interest turned out to be probate and estate planning!

Retirement is NOT in my vocabulary as I intend to work full time for as long as I can. In my spare time, I like to garden, exercise, continue my volunteer work, continue work with the Paralegal Association of Florida-Suncoast Chapter (where I have been President), socialize with friends, continue with travel (I loved Italy in 2000, and my trip to Austria, Southern Germany and Switzerland in 2005), and work on a favorite hobby of mine - my Dept. 56 miniature lighted village display of 150 major pieces which now is spread out over a distance of 30 feet!! It is a real Christmas delight to all who see it!

I look forward to seeing you at our 50th class reunion!

Barbara (Barb) Jillich Strode