Mark W. Schwiebert and Virginia "Ginny" Rae Payton, both of Rock Island, were crowned king and queen of the 74th annual Mardi Gras Charity Ball Saturday night at the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf.
The annual black-tie event is sponsored by the Junior Board of Rock Island to raise funds to benefit area children. Last year, the Junior Board donated more than $51,300 through its fundraising efforts and volunteered nearly 5,000 volunteer hours to the community.
This year's theme was "Black and White Masquerade Ball." The evening featured a cocktail reception, formal dinner, dancing, a silent auction, presentation of the 2013 attendants and pages, and the coronation of the king and queen. Entertainmentwas provided by The Terry Hanson Ensemble and dance music by Jonny O.
Co-chairing the 2013 ball were Junior Board membersAnjel Tweet and Barb Cady.Pryce T. Boeye served as master of ceremonies
King Mark W. Schwiebert
Mr. Schwiebert was born and raised in the Quad-Cities area. He graduated from Rock Island High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from Augustana College, Rock Island. He studied for one semester at the American University in Washington, D.C.
He earned his juris doctorate and a master's degree in history at Drake University in Des Moines. He received an honorary doctorate of human letters from Augustana College in 2003, and he also received an Alumni Association Outstanding Service Award in 2010.
Mr. Schwiebert served on the Rock Island City Council from 1981 through 1989 and was mayor of Rock Island from 1989 until 2009. He is president and shareholder of Schwiebert Law P.C.
Mr. Schwiebert is a member of the Augustana College board of trustees, the Figge Art Museum board of trustees and the German American Heritage Center board of directors. He also is on the Trinity Medical Center/Regional Health Systems board of directors, the Yom Hoshoah Memorial Commission board of directors, and the Rock Island Kiwanis Club board of directors. He is a trustee with the Rausch Foundation I.
He is a member of the Illinois Governor's Taxpayer Action Board. He was vice president of the Illinois Municipal League from 2007 to 2009. He is the rounder and former chair of the Rock Island Advanced Technology & Sustainability Consortium and was the recipient of the Sustainability Leadership Award in 2009. He was the vhair of the Bi-State Regional Commission from 2003 until 2005.
He was presented the U.S. Army Commander's Award for Public Service by Maj. Gen. Robert Radin in 2009. That same year, he received the Izaak Walton League of America's Civic Service Award for the Illinois Division. He received the Modern Woodmen of America Community Service Award in 2004 and the Rock Island Noon Kiwanis Spiritual Aims Award in 1989. He was honored several times by the Rock Island Rotary -- he received the Paul Harris Fellow in 1989, the Excellence Award in 2009, and the Service Above Self Award for 2008-2009.
Mr. Schwiebert and his wife, Deborah, were married in 1987. He is a member of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rock Island, and Mrs. Schwiebert is a member of St. Pius X Church in Rock Island.
His mother, Olive, was named Mardi Gras Queen in 1991.
In his spare time, Mr. Schwiebert enjoys watercolor and oil painting, reading, archeology, hiking and travel.
Queen Virginia 'Ginny' Rae Payton
A lifelong resident of Rock Island, Ms. Payton attended Rock Island High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in education from Western Illinois University in 1966 and a master's degree in education from WIU in 1995.
Ms. Payton taught kindergarten for 36 years in the Rock Island/Milan School District. She began her teaching career at the original Lincoln School and went on to teach at Denkmann, Eugene Field, Ridgewood and Horace Mann Year Round School.
In 1991, when Horace Mann Year Round School opened, she served on committees to develop curriculum, tests, report cards, and a thematic approach for learning in literature, math, science and language arts.
Ms. Payton received the Master Teacher Award in 2005. She retired from Horace Mann Year Round School in 2007.
She is a board member of Citizens to Preserve Black Hawk Park, a supporter of the Rock Island Milan Education Foundation and the Rock Island Milan Development Fund, and a member of the Rock Island Milan Booster Club. She was a member of the Junior Board of the Tri-City Symphony from 1975 until 1985.
Ms. Payton is a member of the Illinois Retired Teacher Association and served on the Blackhawk Unit board of directors. She is a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa teachers' sorority and is currently serving as its vice president. She is a member of PEO and the current corresponding secretary of that organization.
She is a member of the Quad City Botanical Center. She volunteers at Trinity in Rock Island and at the Festival of Trees, and she is a guest reader at her grandchildrens' school.
Ms. Payton and her husband, Ed, have been married for 46 years.He is retired from the Rock Island Arsenal. She is a member of Two Rivers United Methodist Church and taught Bible School and Sunday School there as well. She is a member of the church circle.
The Paytons have two daughters -- Julie, who is married to Jim Zarlatanes and has two children, Nikolas and Alex, and Gina, who is married to Joe Lawrence and has two children, Payton and Carly. Both daughters teach in the Rock Island/Milan School District.
Daughter Julie was a Mardi Gras attendant in 1988, and Gina was a Mardi Gras attendant in 1991.
Ms. Payton enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, photography, dancing, Jazzercise and gardening.
Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass. 1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links. 1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned. 1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today. 1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.