‘We wanted somebody who really had touched all of Quincy’: Scholz to receive Exchange Club’s Golden Deeds award Friday

Chuck Scholz Golden Deeds

Former Quincy mayor Chuck Scholz stands outside his law office on Maine Street. Scholz will be the recipient of the 70th annual Golden Deeds award from the Exchange Club on Friday. | David Adam

QUINCY — It’s probably easier to list all of the community activities Chuck Scholz hasn’t participated in and all of the awards he hasn’t been given.

Scholz, 68, is best known for his three-term stint as the mayor of Quincy from 1993-2005, but he’s been a board member, trustee, chairman or volunteer for dozens of other organizations in the city. He’s been recognized by countless organizations for his work with humanitarian and charitable causes.

Scholz’s lifetime of service is why he will be the recipient of the Quincy Exchange Club’s Golden Deeds award during its 70th annual banquet, set for 11:45 a.m. Friday at the Elks Club. Past recipients typically have made a positive impact as a selfless volunteer or by working tirelessly on behalf of the community.

The award is called the Book of Golden Deeds because letters, written on behalf of the recipient by those who have firsthand knowledge of their efforts, are placed in a book and forever documented. This year’s book will be one of the thickest ever, with nearly three dozen letters written by various community leaders, politicians, city officials and business owners.

“Usually we look for somebody who’s just kind of hidden and just goes about their business, not looking for any type of notoriety. But for the 70th anniversary, we wanted somebody who really had touched all of Quincy,” said State’s Attorney Gary Farha, an Exchange Club member who served on the selection committee. 

“Chuck just stood out for not only his things he’s done while in office but also for what he’s done after he left office and and things he’s continued to do for the community. There were more letters written on behalf of Chuck than we’ve seen in the time I’ve been on the committee.”

Scholz learned earlier this month he would be presented the award when Exchange Club members surprised him at the Wilhelm Johnson Scholz STEM lab at St. Peter School. The lab, named after Scholz’s infant grandson who died in 2020, was designed to foster an interest for science, technology, engineering and mathematics for students in grades K-8.

He says his willingness to volunteer was established as a child.

“After the flood (of 1993), I spoke at Southern Illinois University, and somehow there was a story in the newspaper,” Scholz said. “Afterward, I got a nice little card from Mattoon with this written message that said, ‘I recognized your name, because I taught your father in fifth grade at St. Francis School in Quincy.’ It was Sister Mary Timothy (Ryan, who taught at the school in the 1930s). 

“I wrote her back and said, ‘Sister, you are one of the heroes of the flood, because you taught all those kids at St. Francis, and those people taught us, and that’s why Quincy responded the way it did (during the flood).’ You’ve got to get those values into kids and get them passed on. Now I love seeing my little granddaughters out there ringing bells for the Salvation Army. It’s how we’re raised.”

Among the awards Scholz has received are: 

  • Distinguished Service Award, Catholic Charities
  • Governor’s Award for Unique Achievement
  • Magnificat Award, Diocese of Springfield
  • Friends of Family Humanitarian Award, Family Service Agency
  • Theda Jansen Juvenile Protection Award, Quincy Neighborhood Federation
  • Chairman’s Award of Honor, Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Civic Leadership Award, Cathedral of Worship
  • Gold Merit Award, Quincy Association of Realtors
  • Downtown Commitment Award, Historic Quincy Business District
  • Paul Harris Fellowship, Rotary Club
  • Joe Bonansinga Community Service Award, United Way of Adams County
  • Liberty Bell Award, Adams County Bar Association
  • Good Neighbor Award, Adams County Red Cross
  • Quincy Notre Dame High School Leadership Award
  • Distinguished Citizen Award, Mississippi Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America
  • Thomas L. Kane Award, Mormon History Association

Scholz now works alongside his son, Jake, in their private law practice at Scholz and Scholz. He was quick to say dozens of other people were more deserving of the award.

“I know that, because I see their good works,” he said. “Volunteerism in Quincy is just off the charts. There are some walking saints among the 69 (Golden Deeds winners) who came before me.”

He also noted his belief in the importance of volunteerism was bolstered when he received a liver transplant on Feb. 13, 2015.

“I had liver cancer, and I was going to die without that transplant,” Scholz said. “So every day, I have to thank the Lord and make sure I do something to pay that forward.”

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