In Memorium, William L. Conaghan

April 12, 2019

Former Lighthouse Board Chair Presided Over Robust Expansion

The late William L. Conaghan, who served as Lighthouse Board Chair from 2008 through 2010, is credited with presiding over a period of dramatic expansion for the organization.

Mr. Conaghan, 63, who remained on The Lighthouse Board after his term as Chair ended, passed away on March 29.  He had been president and chief executive of Bridgeview Bank and was an attorney, previously practicing at Vedder Price.

Under his watch, The Lighthouse completed an ambitious expansion and renovation project that added 12,000 square feet, enabling the agency to grow existing programs and add new ones to better serve the blind, visually impaired, disabled and Veteran communities.  A cornerstone of the project was the new world-class Sandy and Rick Forsythe Center for Comprehensive Vision Care, which encompassed The Lighthouse’s expanded low vision rehabilitation program.

Mr. Conaghan’s tenure also saw the establishment at The Lighthouse of the Pangere Center for Inherited Retinal Diseases.  This center is engaged in important research on new treatment techniques including gene therapy. The center attracts doctors from all over the world to work with its director, internationally recognized ophthalmologist, Dr. Gerald Fishman.

In addition to his work and community service, Mr. Conaghan was a devoted family man who loved spending time with his wife, Eileen, and daughter, Sarah.

“Bill was an incredibly talented and kind man who generously shared his big heart and soul with The Chicago Lighthouse,” said President and CEO Dr. Janet Szlyk.  “He was always an enthusiastic supporter of the employment of people who are blind. We will miss our wonderful friend and mentor.

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