quickly moved into the legal field, starting out as
an assistant states attorney in Kane County, then into
the same position in DeKalb County. Judge Robbin Stuckert and
then-States Attorney Ron Matekaitis (now a judge himself)
tapped her to organize a drug/DUI court pilot program for the
county, a program she then led for the past 10 years.
Note to readers: Barry Schraders DeKalb
County Life column will appear every other Tuesday.
Those who know Marilyn Stromborg will agree she is a Type
A personality (The A is for Assertive). I can
speak from experience because we have known each other as far
back as 1961, when we worked together at NIUs campus newspaper
The Northern Star. More about that later.
Last week, Marilyn completed yet another chapter in her
life, retiring as the DeKalb County Drug Court administrator,
choosing the same time her husband, internist Dr. Paul Stromborg,
retired from his practice. Marilyn and Paul met as undergrads
at NIU, then both went into the Air Force, she in the nursing
field stateside and he as a pilot in the Vietnam War.
She had graduated from NIU with a degree in biology and
chemistry, then went to the New York City Medical College to
earn her registered nurse and masters degree. While working
at the University of Illinois at Chicagos School of Nursing,
she enrolled in NIUs doctoral program. In 1978, she and
Paul returned to her hometown of Sycamore, where he joined her
father Dr. Irving Frank in medical practice, and she began teaching
in the NIU School of Nursing. She moved up to chair her last
10 years at the Nursing School and retired from NIU after 29
She decided to seek new challenges at age 50, and entered
law school at Northern while still working full-time, earning
her law degree in 1994. She
Circuit Court Clerk Maureen Josh (from left), Dr. Paul
Stromborg, retired judge Kurt Klein, Marilyn Stromborg and Presiding
Circuit Court Judge Robbin Stuckert gather recently for Stromburg's
retirement party in the DeKalb County courthouse jury room.
(Barry Schrader photo)
The program became nationally recognized for its success
and was named one of 10 top Mentor Drug Courts in the country
by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
There is not space enough here to list all her awards,
books she wrote in the nursing field, boards and nonprofits she
has served. Her latest honor came this year, when she was named
one of Sycamore High Schools distinguished alumni.
Now getting back to my earlier mention about how long we
have known each other, I wanted to explain what I think was one
of her finest acts of kindness. During my senior year at Northern,
she told me she knew just the girl I should meet, one of her
best friends in high school who now worked at NIU. She arranged
that first date and, one year later, Kay and I were married.
That was 50 years ago.
Marilyns longtime friend, Circuit Court Clerk Maureen Josh,
read a message at the retirement reception that had been sent
by one of Marilyns sons, Nels.
Today, my parents begin a marvelous new chapter,
it said. Contrary to what my mother believes, that does
not mean almost certain and immediate death. It means a chance
to reinvent yourself; a chance to teach us even more; a chance
to reflect on the amazing things you both have accomplished and
the amazing things to come. It is your time and our chance to
pay you back.
I asked Marilyn that day if she had any political ambitions
or would continue to use her law degree. She said definitely
no to politics, but added she would let me know what she does
have in mind after she and Paul return from a trip to Portugal
I knew Marilyn could never really retire.