Oak Brook man keeps busy in retirement
Jim Pehta retired at age 43, but has been active in several aspects of Oak Brook life ever since.
Updated: March 18, 2013 1:16AM
OAK BROOK — Retiring at the age of 43 didn’t slow down Jim Pehta, it just sent him in another direction. Pehta, 65, has lived in Oak Brook for the past 31 years and has been president of the Midwest Chase homeowners association for the past five years. He has been active in helping all residents become part of Butler Elementary District , and in the district’s desire to build a new school at the Sports Core.
Q. How were you able to retire at 43 years old?
A. I had a business that we sold to Pitney Bowes. I was very young with a lot of ambition and desire. I got involved in some things because I thought it was time to give back in a way I could make a difference.
Q. What did you do to keep busy after you retired?
A. I was asked to be involved with the Smithonian National Postal Museum and helped raise money and design exhibits. I like challenges. I like to find things I believe in and use my talents. And I love history; it’s a view of where we’ve been, and hopefully we try to learn from that as we move forward.
Q. What are your talents?
A. Creativity, drive and ambition, and developing a team.
Q. You don’t have kids attending local schools. What prompted you to get involved with the school issues in Oak Brook?
A. My first exposure to Oak Brook government was two years ago when we had some pretty bad flooding issues in Midwest Chase. We went to (Oak Brook Trustee) Jerry Wolin, and he really helped out. He got the village engineer involved, and they did a flood study.
What drives me to be involved locally is that I look and see that the long-term demographics of Oak Brook have changed. The community is getting older, and we want to bring some younger families in to live here. I also believe in education and want to make a difference in the long-term interest of the village.
That’s what the big challenge is — to make a difference.
Q. You also are a trustee for the Theodore Roosevelt Association. Is Roosevelt one of your historical interests?
A. No. That’s something else someone contacted me about becoming involved in. Most people don’t know that teddy bears got their name because of Roosevelt. I’m the Teddy Bear Chair for the association.
Q. What do you do as Teddy Bear Chair?
A. The Theodore Roosevelt Association started the Teddy Bears for Kids Program in 1986 to help make sick children smile and feel safe. We have given out more than 80,000 teddy bears.
Q. Are you involved in any other groups or activities?
A. Yes, the Oak Brook Polo Club. Polo is back in Oak Brook.