Giving Back

Posted: March 18, 2020

Bob and Norma Wildenradt are doing it again – giving back to their rural community.

“It’s important to do – to make the community better,” say the Wildenradts.

Recently Bob and Norma Wildenradt endowed a gift to the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Foundation earmarked for an agricultural scholarship. 

“We count our blessings daily and feel fortunate we can help others,” said Norma. “We especially want to help college students who are looking at a career in agriculture.”

The Wildenradts have a genuine desire to support young people who are interested in the future of agriculture. “We need to do all we can to keep agriculture strong,” they said.

Bob and Norma have a real affinity for agriculture with their farm family roots and connectivity to the rural community of Sycamore.

Norma has many fond memories of her farm family upbringing. In her younger years she helped on the family farm in DeKalb, detasseled corn, and then worked for DeKalb Ag. Norma was also part of the singing Sanderson Sisters, a family quartet which entertained at various community events and also performed at the WLS Barn Dance.

Norma Sanderson Wildenradt has fond memories of her rural youth when she and her sisters would sing at various events. Known then as the Sanderson Sisters they included: (front row, from left) LuAnn, Norma, Donna and (back) Wilma in 1939.

Bob was the third generation to be involved in the family-owned construction business, Wildenradt Construction. He grew up a city boy and carpenter, he explains. Then he joined the Air Force, married Norma, and went to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign to earn an engineering degree.

The Wildenradts returned to Sycamore where Bob was involved in his construction business and with his crew built several structures in the local vicinity. Additionally, he was on the ground floor of starting up some manufacturing companies. Bob also ventured into real estate, owning a real estate company for 30 years.

When the Wildenradts sold some of their business properties they converted their equity into farmland.

Through the years Bob and Norma have been staunch supporters of their community giving of their time and talents to several organizations.

Bob has served on 10 different boards including being president of the Kishwaukee College Foundation and the DeKalb County Board of Realtors. His community service hasn’t gone unnoticed as he is one of Sycamore’s honored recipients of the Clifford Danielson award.

The retired couple reflects on their lives and their 67 years of marriage. “We’ve been blessed with good health and a wonderful family,” said Norma. They have three children – Sandra Plescia of Sycamore; Sharon Henke of Lodi, Wis.; and Roger Wildenradt of Houston, Tex.– seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Both Bob and Norma have a good sense of humor, which keeps each other smiling. They reminisce about their travels and their many interests. For Bob, he still enjoys constructing things, flying his Piper Cherokee plane, and relishing his collections of horse-drawn carriages and wooden sleighs. For Norma, she likes music, quilting and delights in the “little ones” in her family.

The Wildenradts recall their humble beginnings and don’t lose sight of “the good life” they have lived.

About the Bob & Norma Wildenradt Ag Scholarship

The Bob and Norma Wildenradt Ag Scholarship will benefit a college student majoring in an agricultural field of study and interested in an agricultural career.

One, $2,000 scholarship will be awarded annually to a deserving student in their sophomore, junior or senior year of college.

Students applying for this scholarship must be enrolled in a community college or university in the state of Illinois.

Similar to other Farm Bureau Foundation scholarships, applicant’s parent/guardian must be a Farm Bureau member in good standing for at least two years.

The Bob & Norma Wildenradt Ag Scholarship application can be completed online at: Deadline to apply is June 12.