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Redbird legacy: Becoming home for 5 Reeser children

Reeser family

Sheryl (Lessen) Reeser ’61 and her husband, Don.

Sheryl (Lessen) Reeser ’61 came to Illinois State for the excellent education program. After graduating, she taught students with developmental disabilities at a school in Rockford. She went on to teach fourth grade before taking a professional break as she and her husband, Don, started a family that eventually included five children.

When it came time to consider sending them to college, Illinois State became the choice for all five. Sheryl and Don consequently bought a house in Normal two blocks from campus. It became the collegiate home for Brian ’87, Todd ’88, David ’89, Julie ’92, and Brent ’94.

With much of Don’s family in Bloomington, the siblings had plenty of support as they pursued different majors. “It was nice for them to have grandma and their aunts and uncles around,” Sheryl said.

Sheryl remembers how helpful the hands-on undergraduate experience was for Brian, who graduated with a degree in geology. He now lives in Texas with his wife, Candace, and works at an environmental firm.

Todd, who graduated with a degree in general finance, worked with actual business portfolios during his stint at the University. He has become one of the top brokers at Edward Jones Financial. His wife, Diane (Reiff) ’89, is a marketing graduate. They reside in Kewanee.

David earned a mathematics degree and has advanced to become a computer analyst for Northern Trust’s Chicago headquarters, and lives with his wife, Sandy, in Bartlett. His brother, Brent, who resides in Yorkville with wife Angie, was a history major at Illinois State. He followed his father’s footsteps in the insurance industry, becoming a successful adjuster with Farmers Insurance Group.

Julie initially mirrored her mother’s interests and studied elementary education at ISU. She has since also became an adjuster, working at COUNTRY Financial in Bloomington. She and her husband, Bill Quigley, reside in Normal.

When Brent entered first grade, Sheryl returned to the classroom to teach students with intellectual disabilities. Now retired, she and Don reside in Tennessee, where they continue to appreciate and build upon their family’s 50-year Redbird legacy.

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