ELBURN – For years, Carrie Petrie worked to place flags at cemeteries to honor veterans on Memorial Day, a task that would take her hours each year.
Then, at the village's annual Memorial Day ceremony, she would read the names of the veterans who had died. She would recite "In Flanders Fields" at the event and played a key role in the ceremony for more than 60 years. Petrie had said her father served in World War I, and her late husband, Grover, in World War II, and she embraced her Memorial Day tasks.
Petrie died Thursday at the age of 87. Her greatest legacy will be the decades spent making certain that Memorial Day got the dignity it deserved, but that was only one of the many tasks she would handle in her years in the Elburn area. Village President Dave Anderson said Tuesday that, "she is, in my opinion, a classic Elburnite."
A celebration of Petrie's life is set for 3 p.m. Feb. 22 at Elburn American Legion Post 630, 112 N. Main St., Elburn.
Petrie was a charter member of the Elburn American Legion Auxiliary. On Poppy Day each year, Petrie worked on Main Street in Elburn, collecting donations and passing out poppies.
"For a long time, she collected at Kountry Kettle on Poppy Day," Anderson said. "She was always there at 5:30 a.m., and in the past few years, she had to have a chair. She was there this past summer."
Anderson praised Petrie's work.
"From a patriot's standpoint, she was at the very top of the list for the country, for the state and for the community," Anderson said. "She was very, very active in the legion auxiliary. She set up the kitchen in the community legion building. She was just a superior individual, and she was also very strong-willed, but in a positive way."
Anderson recalled Petrie's time working at Robert's Drive-In, in Geneva.
"Carrie was at times not only the waitress," he said. "She was the cook and the cashier, all at the same time. She was an extremely organized person."
Petrie last year stepped down from her role on Memorial Day because of health concerns. Just last month, she donated a Christmas tree for use in the village's Christmas Stroll celebration.
She is survived by a daughter, Cara, and her granddaughter, Abigail. She was preceded in death by two sons.
According to her obituary, a memorial has been set up to benefit Petrie's favorite charities. Checks may be made to the "Carrie Petrie Memorial" and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119.
• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.