This story is about being thankful; thankful for family; thankful for friends; thankful for their community and thankful for life. As Lindy commented, “First and last, thank you to everyone.”
Colonel R.L. (Retired Air Force) and Lillian (Jones) Chrisinger have been chosen to serve as the Ambassadors for the 2017 Crooked Creek Days. Both have spent most of their lives in the Winfield area, Lil coming from Columbus Junction and Chris from Winfield.
The couple met in Columbus Junction at a Louisa County 4-H party. As Lindy says, “I winked at the most beautiful girl in the room and Lil Jones joined in the refreshment line; that was 73 years ago.” They have been married 65 of those years.
When Lil was 18 years old and with one summer of education classes, she taught eighth grade in a country school. She went on to get her four-year degree in education and finished her career at the Columbus Community School System when she retired in 1991. Since that time, she has filled in substitute teaching at several of the area schools.
Together, Lindy and Lil have three children, Jim, John and Ann. They also have three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Lindy was born and raised on the family farm in northeast Henry County the son of Durbin and Signe Lindeen Chrisinger. Lindy’s grandfather, Robert V. Chrisinger had bought the farm in 1868 and Lindy was born and raised there with his two siblings, John and Evelyn, both now deceased.
In 1946 Lindy’s father, Durbin and two partners created an airport at the farm. At the age of 16, Lindy was flying a J-3 Piper Cub airplane, never dreaming this would be useful about 10 years later to take photos of crops to show farmers at winter meetings.
In September of 1947 Lindy and his brother John E. drove the two Ford Model T’s John owned to Ames, the home of Iowa State University to attend school.
However, in the spring of 1948, Russia and China were insisting on World War III. Thousands of young males (not 19 year olds) enlisted for one-year active duty to have their choice of Army, Navy, Air Force or other military services. “We made the choice,” said Lindy, “because at the age of 17 and 18, we would soon be involved.”
Lindy chose the Air Force and after 13 weeks of basic training in Texas, the rest of the year was spent at Sacramento, CA’s Mather Air Force Base. “For nine months, I worked at the top level of Base Headquarters taking care of Military Regulations and Letters,” Lindy said. Fortunately, World War III did not happen, but unfortunately, the Korean War did. “I spent that time at Ames due to my involvement with AF ROTC. In December of 1952, I became an Air Force Reserve 2nd Lieutenant and the Air Force had Lieutenants coming out of their ears. I did not go on active duty as my classmates did with no prior active duty.”
Col. Chrisinger has a plaque he received for his service as the “Outstanding Liason Officer in the Nation 1978”.
On June 15, 1952, Lil and Lindy were married on a very hot day at the Columbus Junction Methodist Church where Lil was a member of the choir. Lil recalled the day, “It was so hot that as the men arrived for the wedding, they were told that they could remove their jackets because it was so hot.” But then Lindy chimed in, “except for those of us in the wedding party. We had to wear our jackets.” They spent their honeymoon in Mark Twain country in Mid-Missouri, just west of the Mississippi River.
Back on campus at Iowa State, Lindy completed his B.S. education in Agronomy and employment in research legume breeding. Lil was also employed and their first son, Jim Durbin was on the way.
Following Lindy’s graduation from Iowa State University in December of 1952, Lil and Lindy took up residency in Marion, Ohio where Lindy was well employed by Allied Chemical and Dye Corp. in sales which included educating dealers and their farm customers on using nitrogen commercial fertilizer to replace farm manure and legumes. Their first child, Jim, was born on March 18, 1953 and the Chrisingers moved to Winfield on Thanksgiving that year. Lil also had their second son, John Corey “getting a start in her tummy.”
Moving back to Winfield, the Chrisingers rented part of a house from Miss Della Johnson on East Elm Street. Their second son, John C. was born May 18th, 1954.
In 1958, the Chrisinger “5” moved to 410 South Locust Street where Lil and Lindy still reside.
On March 12, 1956, Ann Benae Chrisinger was born to complete their wonderful family. A few years later, Lil and some kids with a child’s four-wheel wagon helped move books to the new and present Winfield Library.
Lindy’s sales territory was the North one-third of Illinois and also some involvement in Iowa.
After working with other fertilizer companies, Chris Soil Service was born in 1956. Lindy attended many conferences in Des Moines, Ames and even at the University of Illinois in Urbana.
Lindy has also been involved with the Scouting program in Winfield, serving as Winfield’s Neighborhood Commissioner. This meant that if the City was short of Scout leaders, it was his job to find one, whether that meant visiting a city council meeting or a school board meeting. His three children, Jim, John and Ann have also been active in Camp Eastman Scout Camp as one year they all worked at the camp. Son Jim earned his Eagle Scout award and served several times as Chief at Camp Eastman.
Lindy became a member of the Masonic Lodge #235 at the age of 21 and was the Master several times and currently serves as the “Marshall”.
Lindy was a founding member of the Winfield Historical Society and also a founding member of the Henry County Historical Preservation Commission. To this day, he remains very active in both
He and Lil are active members of the Swedesburg Evangelical Lutheran Church in Swedesburg. Lindy is a lifetime member. Lil is also a very active volunteer at Sunrise Terrace and was also a volunteer at the Swedish American Museum in Swedesburg.
So, on Saturday, 5th, you will see Lil and Lindy riding in a convertible provided by Page Kepper. The car will be followed by a hay rack carrying his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Also on that hayrack will be a very special canoe. The canoe was made by Durbin’s brother, Robert Chrisinger, for use on Crooked Creek. The boat has since been refurbished by Lindy’s older brother, John E. Chrisinger and will have a special place in the parade.
So, Lil and Lindy, we congratulate you both on being chosen this year’s Ambassadors and hope that you will enjoy your day!