Late Illinois manufacturing executive’s cousin to bike 1,700 miles
to raise funding for trade school scholarship in her name
Former Brite-O-Matic President Lynne Mohr’s family and Illinois Manufacturers’ Association’s Education Foundation honor her generosity and career in industry with endowment to help trade students further their education
Springfield, Illinois — Former Brite-O-Matic Manufacturing, Inc. President Lynne Mohr’s dedication to her family, company and Illinois’s manufacturing industry were legendary. Less known was the generosity she quietly showed to people in need.
Her family has partnered with the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association’s Education Foundation to establish The Lynne Mohr Endowment for trade scholarships at the Illinois Manufacturers' Association Education Foundation, which pays tribute to both her public and private contributions with a unique fundraising initiative that allows one family member to honor the support she gave him as he biked to raise money for cancer research.
Mohr’s cousin George Maurer, a Minneapolis adventure bicyclist, will pedal the 1,700 miles from Brite-O-Matic headquarters in Arlington Heights, Illinois to “Serenity Now,” the vacation home she and her husband Ken had recently built near Eureka, Montana. Mohr died Aug. 23, 2020 from complications related to liver cancer, and Maurer will carry stones made from her ashes so she can join him in spirit.
Maurer departs Aug. 13 for “The Big Sky Highway Ride Home,” a three-week trek with the goal of raising money for The Lynne Mohr Endowment for Trade Scholarships, which will help fund post-secondary education for Illinois students pursuing the trades.
Mohr was deeply committed to the Midwest manufacturing industry and served on the board of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the unifying voice of manufacturers at the State Capitol regarding issues such as tax policy, environmental regulations, health care reform and labor law. She worked at Brite-O-Matic, the specialty car wash systems manufacturer founded by her father William Gasser, from age 14 through her retirement in 2018.
“Since Lynne spent most her life at a manufacturing company, she believed it was important to promote manufacturing careers and help with the training of skilled workers, especially here in Illinois,” said her sister Laurie Gasser, Brite-O-Matic treasurer.
The family felt a scholarship exemplified Mohr’s pragmatic philanthropy.
“My mom was about, ‘How can I make an immediate impact in someone’s life?’” said her son Dan Mohr, Brite-O-Matic vice president of service operations. “She was a very generous person, but she didn’t generally want people to know. She did not look for an award. She did not look for recognition. She just had the ability to help people out when they needed it.”
"Lynne Mohr's service and commitment to the manufacturing community across Illinois will now be known for generations to come. She was a manufacturing champion and passionate advocate who left a lasting legacy," said Mark Denzler, President & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. "The IMA and the IMA Education Foundation are grateful for the opportunity to help honor Lynne through this annual ride and establishment of an endowment in her name."
Maurer will begin “The Big Sky Highway Ride Home” at 10 with a sendoff from Brite-O-Matic’s headquarters at 527 Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, Illinois. This ride continues Maurer’s tradition of biking to raise money for an important cause in the name of a role model. His six cross-country rides generated more than $50,000 for cancer research at the Mayo Clinic starting with 2014’s “48 Across the 48: The Carolyn A. Held Bike Ride,” modeled after a ride his late friend completed in 48 days the year she turned 48. Mohr contributed generously to each of Maurer’s annual journeys, which have taken him through countries including Iceland, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and inspired his virtual edutainment program “Tales from a Bicycle Seat.”
“She never wanted my thanks, and she never expected anything in return,” Maurer said. “This is one small way that I can pay it back to her for everything that she’s done for me.”
Donations in support of the endowment in Lynne Mohr’s honor can be made at: https://gofund.me/b7579f2c or by going to gofundme.com and searching for “Lynne Mohr”.
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- Bernard Bartilad
- John and Mary Lou Gasser
Illinois Manufacturers Association Education Foundation
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