Scholarship Honors Legacy Of Irene Gillogly
When Ross Gillogly of San Diego, CA got a phone call from Lincoln Tech thanking him for the gift from his late mother’s estate, he was initially surprised. “I didn’t know much about Lincoln, and I didn’t know she’d left something to the school,” he says. But it quickly made sense. “My brother and I were always working on cars, rebuilding and maintaining them. My mother allowed us full reign in our garage – she could attest to our love for cars, plus the messes we made. She rarely complained, though!”
Ross, his brother Bruce, and their mother Irene – an adventurous local legend who once provided manicure services to Al Capone, flew under the piloting of the Wright Brothers, and sang with Lawrence Welk’s orchestra – lived in the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park for many years. Eventually Ross and Bruce moved out of state (Ross to California and Bruce to Michigan, where he worked at General Motors until his passing), but Irene became a lifelong resident. When she passed away in early 2016 at the incredible age of 105, she left a generous financial gift to Lincoln Tech to support young men and women with the same love for cars as her sons and late husband.
With the $10,000 left to the school, Irene’s legacy will allow more students to pursue Automotive Technology careers who might not have been able to otherwise.
“It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing that students who might be financially strapped can now come to Lincoln Tech and train to work on cars,” Ross says. “I hope it shows them that there are opportunities to get ahead, to build skills and find jobs in a field they really enjoy.”
Campus event celebrates Irene’s life and spotlights students
On October 12 – what would have been Irene’s 106th birthday – the campus held a ceremony to honor Irene Gillogly and to award scholarships in her name to nine deserving students. Ross was part of the panel who interviewed finalists for the awards in his mother’s name, and Melrose Park graduate John Fakhoury was also a member of the panel.
One of the recipients was Automotive Technology student John Smith. “Being a veteran the last 13 years, hopelessness had been a way of life,” John says. “But being awarded the Gillogly Scholarship has really made a positive impact on my life.”
Ross enjoyed getting to see the Melrose Park campus up close. “I loved it,” he says. “It was more than I expected: very clean, very professional, and everyone there – students, faculty, staff – treated one another like family.”
While on campus, Ross was able to meet students and instructors and relate his own stories about growing up in a house where the garage became a favorite hangout for the brothers and their friends. “I remember we bought three wrecked ‘Vettes and rebuilt them into one complete car between 1961-62,” he says. “We rebuilt more than a few Chevys and Oldsmobiles too – we were GM enthusiasts.”
Ross, Bruce and their friends not only rebuilt cars – they raced them, too. As for the hands-on work in the garage, Ross says his mother always supported her sons’ passion for auto mechanics and technology. “I believe she realized it kept us busy and out of trouble,” he says.
Then he pauses before adding with a laugh, “Well, most trouble.”
The Lincoln Tech family thanks the late Irene Gillogly for her gift to the Melrose Park campus, and we are especially grateful to Ross for sharing his mother’s story with our school and our students!