Miss Illinois

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Developed by the Miss America Organization, the Miss Illinois program exists to provide personal and professional opportunities for young women and to promote their voices in culture, politics, and the community. The program provides a forum for today's young women to express their viewpoints, talents, and accomplishments to audiences during the telecast and to the public-at-large during the ensuing year. Almost all contestants have either received, or are in the process of earning, college or postgraduate degrees and utilize Miss America scholarship grants to further their educations.

The first "Miss Illinois" sent to the national pageant, Lois Delander, won the Miss America title. Including Delander, five Miss Illinois representatives have won Miss America.

To become Miss America, a contestant must first win a local competition and then compete to represent her state, a process requiring personal commitment, hard work, and talent. A woman may compete at the state level more than once, but may only compete in the national Miss America competition one time. Thousands of women participate each year in the local and state events, culminating in the selection of 52 national finalists who vie for the Miss America title. Tens of thousands of volunteers organize the local and state preliminary competitions, promoting community involvement throughout the United States and furthering scholarship and achievement among young women in their communities.

The Miss America Organization has partnered with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to raise funds and awareness for children's hospitals throughout the United States. Contestants competing in Miss America-sponsored competitions raise donations through appearances and fundraisers that benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the Miss America Scholarship Fund. In addition, each new Miss America becomes the goodwill ambassador for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, speaking on behalf of kids treated at children's hospitals and raising awareness around the country.

Abby Foster of Danville was crowned Miss Illinois 2017 on June 17, 2017 at Marion Cultural Arts & Civic Center in Marion, Illinois. She will compete for the title of Miss America 2018 on September 10, 2017 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Results summary[edit]

The year in parentheses indicates the year of the Miss America competition the award/placement was garnered. Awards received by contestants competing as Miss Chicago are denoted with a "*".


  • Miss Americas: Lois Delander (1927), Judith Ford (1969), Marjorie Vincent (1991), Katherine Shindle (1998), Erika Harold (2003)
  • 1st runners-up: Bette Brunk* (1942), Sandra Truitt (1982), Jade Smalls (2000)
  • 2nd runners-up: Trudi Germi (1949), Florence Gallagher* (1956), Jean Ahern (1975)
  • 3rd runners-up: Arlene Causey (1936), Elaine Steinbach* (1944), Jeri Zimmermann (1990)
  • 4th runners-up: Margaret Leigh (1924), Jo Hoppe* (1953), Tracy Hayes (1996)
  • Top 10: Patricia Hayes (1942), Marjorie Nelson* (1943), Adrianne Falcon* (1952), Regina Dombeck* (1955), Sandra Jean Stuart* (1957), Suzanne Ingeborg Johnson (1960), Colleen Metternich (1974), Hannah Smith (2012), Megan Jo Ervin (2013)
  • Top 12: Betty June King (1944)
  • Top 13: Lee Mercer Wieland* (1945)
  • Top 15: Ethel Lorraine Lodbell (1939), Lois Nettleton* (1948), Teresa Giorgian* (1949), Abby Foster (2018)
  • Top 16: Patricia Frye (1946), Cloris Leachman* (1946), Marjorie Adams* (1951)


Preliminary awards[edit]

Non-finalist awards[edit]

  • Non-finalist Talent: Audra Deckmann* (1959), Margaret McDowell* (1961), Vicky Joyce Nutter (1961), Donnalyn Freund* (1963), Dulcie Scripture (1970), Debra Carlson (1979), Blythe Sawyer (1981), Cheryl Majercik (1992), Kathleen Farrell (1993), Sara Martin (1994), Chuti Tiu (1995), Amanda Jo Meadows (1999), Jenny Powers (2001)

Other awards[edit]


Year Name Hometown Age Local Title Miss America Talent Placement at Miss America Special scholarships at Miss America Notes
2017 Abby Foster[1] Danville 21 Miss East Central Jazz Dance to Grease medley Top 15[2] America's Choice[2] Currently an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader[3]
2016 Jaryn Franklin[4] East Moline 23 Miss Blackhawk Valley Vocal "Dream A Little Dream of Me" STEM Scholarship Award
2015 Crystal Davis Anna 22 Miss Southern Illinois Vocal "That's Life"
2014 Marisa Buchheit[5] Chicago 24 Miss Chicago Operatic Vocal "Je veux vivre" from Roméo et Juliette Held Miss Chicago title twice, in 2012 and 2014[citation needed]
2013 Brittany Smith Elmhurst 23 Miss Northern Suburbs Irish Step Dancing "Lord of the Dance"
2012 Megan Jo Ervin Rushville 23 Miss Quincy Dance "Faithfully" Top 10 Preliminary Swimsuit Award Contestant at National Sweetheart 2011
2011 Hannah Smith[6] Huntley 20 Miss Windy City Ballet en Pointe "Palladio" Top 10
2010 Whitney Thorpe-Klinsky New Baden 22 Miss River to River Tap Dance "On the Dance Floor"
2009 Erin O'Connor Evergreen Park 20 Miss Macomb Ballet en Pointe "I Wanna Dance with Somebody Remix"
2008 Katie Lorenz Chicago 24 Miss Chicago Lyrical Dance "Footprints in the Sand"
2007 Ashley Hatfield[7] Anna 24 Miss Heartland Vocal "To Love You More"
2006 Heidi Ekstrom Mundelein 24 Miss Kane County Ballet en Pointe "Ride"
2005 Lauren Allen Batavia 21 Miss Western Suburbs Freestyle Gymnastics "Rhythm of the Night"
2004 Michelle LaGroue Naperville 24 Miss Chicago Vocal "I Know the Truth" from Aida Previously Illinois' Junior Miss 1998

Previously held the title of Miss Illinois in 2002 after Erika Harold was named Miss America 2003
2003 Andrea Fritz Schaumburg 21 Miss Chicago Lyrical Dance "Dance With My Father"
2002 Michelle LaGroue Naperville Miss Tinley Park N/A N/A Assumed the title after Erika Harold became Miss America 2003
Erika Harold Urbana 22 Miss Land of Lincoln Classical Vocal "Habanera" Winner Preliminary Interview Award

Preliminary On-stage Interview Award

Overall Interview Award
2001 Kristin Castillo Macomb 18 Miss Macomb Classical Violin "Praeludium & Allegro"
2000 Jenny Powers Andover, Massachusetts 21 Miss Northern Illinois Classical Vocal "Quando me'n vo'" Preliminary Talent Award

Non-finalist Talent Award
Was eligible to compete for Miss Illinois as a student at Northwestern University
1999 Jade Smalls Evanston 21 Miss Chicago Classical Piano "Etude in C Minor" 1st runner-up
1998 Amanda Jo Meadows Sycamore Miss Macomb Baton "1-2-3 Maria" Non-finalist Talent Award
1997 Ashley Eisenhauer Herrin N/A N/A Assumed the title after Katherine Shindle became Miss America 1998
Katherine Shindle Evanston 20 Miss Lake-Cook Vocal "Don't Rain on My Parade" Winner Preliminary Talent Award
1996 Tania Gibson Lake Barrington 19 Miss Fox River Valley Vocal "As If We Never Said Goodbye" from Sunset Boulevard
1995 Tracy Hayes Wheaton 22 Miss Greater DuPage County Vocal "Tonight" 4th runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1994 Chuti Tiu Chicago 24 Miss Kankakee Classical Piano Non-finalist Talent Award Previously crowned America's Junior Miss 1987, representing Wisconsin[citation needed]
1993 Sara Martin Schaumburg 20 Miss Schaumburg Vocal "Hello, Young Lovers" Non-finalist Talent Award Previously America's Junior Miss 1990
1992 Kathleen Farrell Chicago 23 Miss Kankakee Classical Piano "Danza No. 5" Non-finalist Talent Award Later Miss Illinois USA 1994

Sister of Miss New York 1984, Mary-Ann Farrell and Miss Florida 1985, Monica Farrell
1991 Cheryl Majercik Niles 26 Miss Chicago Classical Vocal "O Mio Babbino Caro" Non-finalist Talent Award
1990 Jaclyn Greer Granite City Miss Madison County N/A N/A Assumed the title after Marjorie Vincent became Miss America 1991
Marjorie Vincent Oak Park 25 Miss Kankakee Classical Piano "Fantaisie-Impromptu" Winner Preliminary Talent Award
1989 Jeri Lynn Zimmermann Evanston 21 Miss Northwestern University Vocal "On My Own" 3rd runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award Best known for playing the Borg Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager[citation needed]
1988 Dawn Spicuzza Collinsville 22 Miss Bethalto Vocal "If I Loved You"
1987 Cindi Hodgkins Schaumburg 22 Miss Chicago Vocal Medley "My Man" & "But the World Goes Round"
1986 Lisa Heussner Pekin 21 Miss Pekin Dramatic Interpretation "Emily Dickinson, Portrait of a Poet"
1985 Karen Moncrieff Chicago 21 Miss Northwestern University Popular Vocal "Through the Eyes of Love" from Ice Castles Toured with 1986 Miss America USO Troupe
1984 Ruth Booker Chicago 21 Miss Chicago Vocal "Kiss Me In the Rain"
1983 Rebecca Bush Chicago 24 Miss Chicago Vocal "It's My Turn" Played Detective Katie Grant on Jake and the Fatman[citation needed]
1982 Jaleigh Jeffers Mt. Carmel 21 Miss Southern Illinois Piano Solo "Bumble Boogie"
1981 Sandra Truitt Evanston 25 Miss North Shore Classical Vocal "Près des remparts de Séville" from Carmen 1st runner-up Preliminary Talent Award
1980 Blythe Sawyer Naperville 22 Miss Chicago Classical Vocal "The Jewel Song" from Faust Non-finalist Talent Award
1979 Elizabeth Russell Pekin 20 Miss Heart of Illinois Classical Vocal "O Luce di Quest'Anima" from Linda di Chamounix Assumed Miss Illinois title after original winner, Shanna McNeill, was stripped of the title[8][9]
1978 Debra Carlson Ottawa, Illinois 19 Miss Ottawa Flute Solo "Carnival of Venice" Non-finalist Talent Award
1977 Nancy Beatty Avon 22 Miss Macomb Classical Vocal "Voices of Spring"
1976 Betsy Jamison Mundelein 24 Miss Mundelein Popular Vocal "Who Will Buy?" from Oliver!
1975 Jean Waters Tuscola 22 Miss Crossroads Country Gymnastic Dance / Trampoline "High School Cadets"
1974 Jean Ahern Hinsdale 21 Miss Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Ballet en Pointe "Kitri's Variation" from Don Quixote 2nd runner-up Preliminary Talent Award
1973 Colleen Metternich Carthage 23 Miss Heart of Illinois Piano Solo "Variations on a Twelve Note Theme" Top 10 Preliminary Talent Award Toured with Miss America USO Troupe
1972 Carolyn Paulus Elmhurst 20 Miss Macomb Classical Vocal "Glitter And Be Gay" from Candide
1971 Anita Pankratz Chicago 21 Miss Chicago Vocal / Piano "Someone to Watch Over Me"
1970 Lynn Alexander Loami 18 Miss Springfield Classical Vocal "Vissi d'arte"
1969 Dulcie Scripture Elgin 20 Miss Elgin Piano Solo "Khachaturian's Toccata" Non-finalist Talent Award
1968 Sharon Mitchell Westchester 19 Miss Bellwood-Westchester N/A N/A Assumed the title after Judith Ford became Miss America 1969
Judith Ford Belvidere 18 Miss Boone County Acrobatic Dance & Trampoline Act "The Blue Danube" Winner Preliminary Swimsuit Award

Preliminary Talent Award
1967 Kathryn Myers Aurora 20 Miss Fox Valley Dramatic Reading "Ion"
1966 Mary Lee Inzerello Elk Grove 19 Miss Quincy Modern Dance
1965 Kathleen Oros Granite City 20 Miss Granite City Popular Vocal "Just You Wait" from My Fair Lady
1964 Patricia Quillen North Aurora 21 Miss Geneva Clarinet Solo Finalist at National Press Photographers' Pageant 1962[citation needed]
1963 Judith Schlieper Decatur Miss Decatur Siamese Dance
1962 Donnalyn Freund Winnetka 20 Miss Chicago Vocal "I Enjoy Being a Girl" Non-finalist Talent Award Multiple Illinois representatives
Pamela Gilbert Carbondale 21 Miss Illinois Dramatic Reading Preliminary Swimsuit Award Multiple Illinois representatives
1961 Nancy Kesler Oak Park 18 Miss Chicago Modern Dance Multiple Illinois representatives
Jacqueline Bingert Winthrop Harbor 21 Miss Illinois Tap Dance & India Ink Sketching Multiple Illinois representatives
1960 Margaret McDowell Evanston 21 Miss Chicago Dramatic Reading Non-finalist Talent Award Multiple Illinois representatives
Vicky Joyce Nutter Vandalia 18 Miss Illinois Presentation of Fashion Designs Non-finalist Talent Award Multiple Illinois representatives
1959 Carol Rubin Chicago 18 Miss Chicago Modern Jazz Dance Multiple Illinois representatives
Suzanne Ingeborg Johnson Chicago 21 Miss Illinois Vocal "Hello, Young Lovers" Top 10 Preliminary Talent Award Multiple Illinois representatives
1958 Audra Deckmann Chicago Miss Chicago Dance Non-finalist Talent Award Multiple Illinois representatives
Anita Ruth Olson River Forest Miss Illinois Piano "Brahms' Rhapsody in G Minor" Multiple Illinois representatives
1957 Bette Lieb Chicago Miss Chicago Dramatic Monologue from Romeo and Juliet Multiple Illinois representatives
Jeannie Beacham Downers Grove Miss Illinois Drama "The Great Debates" Multiple Illinois representatives

Finalist at National Press Photographers' Pageant 1957[citation needed]
1956 Sandra Jean Stuart Chicago Miss Chicago Water Ballet Video Presentation Top 10 Multiple Illinois representatives
Tillie Micheletto Collinsville Miss Illinois Vocal Multiple Illinois representatives
1955 Florence Gallagher Chicago Miss Chicago Semi-classical Vocal "Love Is Where You Find It" 2nd runner-up Multiple Illinois representatives
Marian Elizabeth Cox Oak Park Miss Illinois Vocal "If I Loved You" Multiple Illinois representatives
1954 Regina Dombeck Chicago Miss Chicago Dramatic Monologue from Mary of Scotland by Maxwell Anderson Top 10 Multiple Illinois representatives

Finalist at National Press Photographers' Pageant 1954[citation needed]
Patsy Bruce Carbondale Miss Illinois Drama Miss Congeniality Multiple Illinois representatives
1953 Carol Segermark Chicago Miss Chicago Vocal Multiple Illinois representatives
Jacquie Dumbauld Alton Miss Illinois Piano / Dance Multiple Illinois representatives
1952 Jo Hoppe Chicago Miss Chicago Tap Dance 4th runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award Multiple Illinois representatives
Glenna Marie Pohly Rock Falls Miss Illinois Flute Multiple Illinois representatives
1951 Adrianne Falcon Chicago Miss Chicago Vocal & Dance Top 10 Multiple Illinois representatives
Doris King Granite City Miss Illinois Dance Multiple Illinois representatives
1950 Marjorie Adams Chicago Miss Chicago Monologue "To the Lovely Margaret" Top 16 Multiple Illinois representatives
Catherine Kleinschmidt Granite City Miss Illinois Vocal "Come to the Fair" Multiple Illinois representatives
1949 Teresa Giorgian Chicago Miss Chicago Vocal "Jealousy" Top 15 Multiple Illinois representatives
Trudi Germi Chicago Miss Illinois Classical Vocal "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" 2nd runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award Multiple Illinois representatives
1948 Lois Nettleton Chicago Miss Chicago Dramatic Monologue from Saint Joan Top 15 Multiple Illinois representatives
Viola Ruth Hutmacher Quincy Miss Illinois Classical Vocal "Italian Street Song" Multiple Illinois representatives
1947 Joan Hiatt Chicago Miss Chicago Vocal "Kiss In the Dark" Multiple Illinois representatives
Maree Evans Joliet Dress Design & Art Multiple Illinois representatives
1946 Cloris Leachman Chicago Miss Chicago Comic Sketch "One Man Radio Program" Top 16 Multiple Illinois representatives
Patricia Frye Pekin Miss Illinois Vocal / Tap Dance "I Don't Know Why I Love You Like I Do" Top 16 Multiple Illinois representatives
1945 Lee Mercer Wieland Chicago Miss Chicago Monologue "A Lesson With a Fan" Top 13 Multiple Illinois representatives
Beverly Long Joliet Multiple Illinois representatives
1944 Elaine Steinbach Chicago Miss Chicago Vocal "You'll Never Know" 3rd runner-up Multiple Illinois representatives
Betty June King Bloomington, Illinois Miss Illinois Acrobatic Dance "Stardust" Top 12 Multiple Illinois representatives
1943 Marjorie Nelson Chicago Miss Chicago Rhythmic Ballet Top 10 Multiple Illinois representatives
Dorothy Belle Kohrt Ottawa, Illinois Miss Illinois Multiple Illinois representatives
1942 Bette Brunk Chicago Miss Chicago Hula "Hawaiian War Chant" 1st runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award Multiple Illinois representatives
Patricia Hayes Rochelle, Illinois Miss Illinois Dramatic Recitation Top 10 Multiple Illinois representatives
No Illinois representative at Miss America pageant
1939 Ethel Lorraine Lodbell Chicago Miss Chicago Monologue "From the Diary of a Contestant" Top 15 No Miss Illinois
No Illinois representative at Miss America pageant
1936 Genevieve Anderson Chicago Miss Chicago Multiple Illinois representatives
Arlene Causey Chicago Miss Cook County 3rd runner-up Best Model Multiple Illinois representatives
Virginia Moeller Springfield Multiple Illinois representatives
No Illinois representative at Miss America pageant
No pageant was held
1933 Lillian Kroner 18 N/A N/A Disqualified because she resided in St. Louis, Missouri
No pageants were held
1927 Myrtle Valsted Chicago Miss Chicago Multiple Illinois representatives
Gladys Vile Danville Miss Danville Multiple Illinois representatives
Lois Delander Joliet 16 Miss Illinois Winner Multiple Illinois representatives
Anna G. Bernard Springfield Miss Springfield Multiple Illinois representatives
1926 Mae Greene Chicago Miss Chicago No Miss Illinois
1925 Margarita Gonzales Chicago Miss Chicago Multiple Illinois representatives
Lucille Burns Elgin Miss Elgin Multiple Illinois representatives
1924 Margaret Leigh Chicago Miss Chicago 4th runner-up Multiple Illinois representatives
Virginia Lipscomb Decatur Miss Decatur Multiple Illinois representatives
1923 Corinne Dellefield Chicago Miss Chicago No Miss Illinois
1922 Georgia Hale Chicago Miss Chicago No Miss Illinois
No Illinois representative at Miss America pageant


  1. ^ "Oakwood grad crowned Miss Illinois". The News-Gazette. June 17, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Bailey, Jennifer (September 12, 2017). "Foster makes Top 15 at Miss America pageant". Commercial News. 
  3. ^ "Top of the Morning, June 16, 2017". The News-Gazette. June 16, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Jaryn Franklin is Miss Illinois 2016". pageantsnews.com. 
  5. ^ Associated Press. "Aspiring Chicago singer crowned Miss Illinois". Daily Herald.  June 16, 2014.
  6. ^ "Miss Windy City crowned Miss Illinois". The Southern. July 3, 2011. 
  7. ^ Gier, Nancy (2007-07-01). "Downstater crowned Miss Illinois". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  8. ^ "People Potpurri". The Bulletin. Aug 16, 1979. 
  9. ^ "Shanna McNeill talks about her short reign as Miss Illinois". 

External links[edit]