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Ex-circuit clerk dies at 61

Schipper described as ‘great to work with’

MORRISON – Former Whiteside County Circuit Clerk Sheila Schipper, who retired in 2011 after three decades with the county, died Wednesday. She was 61.

The Morrison resident was taken to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford after she suffered a stroke Tuesday, her successor and friend, Circuit Clerk Susan Ottens, said.

Schipper worked for 30 years in the circuit clerk’s office, the last six as its leader. In February 2011, she took the county’s retirement incentive for employees, Ottens said.

“She was great to work with. She was witty and had a great personality,” Ottens said. “Everyone loved her.”

Ottens, who worked with Schipper starting in 1988, said her predecessor had severe diabetes and had suffered health issues over the years.

“During her time in office, she had a triple bypass,” Ottens said. “She rebounded from that. She amazed me all the time on what she overcame.”

The circuit clerk’s office is responsible for maintaining public court records. The clerk collects millions of dollars each year in fees, fines, penalties, assessments and surcharges.

The circuit clerk, an elected position, has offices in Morrison and Sterling.

Ottens said Schipper retired early because of her health.

“She wanted to spend more time with her family, and I’m glad she did,” Ottens said. “But she missed her job all the time. She missed her friends, her work and her routine.”

Schipper, who was born in Sterling and graduated from Tampico High School in 1968, was married to Roger Schipper, a former Whiteside County sheriff and current County Board member.

On Monday, Sauk Valley Media published the couple’s letter to the editor in support of Trish Joyce, the Democratic candidate for state’s attorney.

They said they normally vote for Republicans, but wanted to support Joyce in this case, calling her the more qualified and competent candidate.

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