Glendale: Nobody loves it better than Jessica Koory

By: 
CAROLYN DRYER, Glendale Star Editor

Photo courtesy Glendale Arizona Historical Society

Jessica Koory is shown on the job at Manistee Ranch.

Jessica Koory was selected by the Glendale Arizona Historic Preservation Commission as the 2018 Ruth Byrne Historic Preservation Award recipient.
Glendale City Council presented the award to Koory at its Oct. 23 meeting.
At the award presentation, Koory spoke of her strong commitment to the city she has called home since the 1960s.
“History has always been my passion,” she said. “When I moved to Glendale and met so many wonderful people, some whose families had been here for generations, I became interested in our wonderful history. We have beautiful old buildings and homes and historic parks. But the real significant heart of any town is its people. Through the years, the people in Glendale have remained genuine, kind and giving … We all realize that what we do now to preserve and protect our history will make that history and our own available for future generations.”
Koory is strongly committed to preserving and promoting Glendale’s history. She lives in a 1958 Sands Estates home that is listed on the National Historic Register. She is secretary of the Glendale Arizona Historical Society Board of Directors, chair of the Accessions Committee, compiles obituaries of former and present Glendale residents and coordinates tours for Manistee Ranch.
Koory has been active with the society, changing exhibits at Sahuaro Ranch and overseeing the historical artifacts and records at Manistee Ranch.
Koory has served on the Glendale Arts Commission and Glendale Library Board, as well as the Maricopa County Library Advisory Committee. She is a strong advocate and critical component to the success of historic preservation in Glendale.
In a sit-down interview with Jessica Koory at her historic home, one gets the sense she is always looking for something to do, but always something with a productive purpose. Behind that purpose is her strong feelings about Glendale.
“I just love Glendale,” were the first words she spoke. “The people have been so wonderful.”
Koory’s family settled first in Phoenix when she was a fifth-grader. She said at that time, Glendale seemed far away. She said her mother got her involved in activities at a young age and she continued being involved with college groups.
“When I came to Glendale, one thing led to another,” she said.
The late Chuck St. Clair, who with his wife, Carol, was in charge of renovations at Manistee Ranch, asked Koory if she wanted to be a docent. From there, she began doing some filing work for the historical society.
“I just got involved and I really enjoy it,” she said.
It is not just the historical society that feels her touch. Koory was the founding president of Glendale Arts Council and was the Open Show chairman for six years. She is presently the secretary and historian. Just recently, she organized and consolidated all of the scrapbooks from the council’s 55-year history. She has worked on the annual juried show for years.
Koory served on the Glendale Arts Commission from 2001 to 2005 and as vice chairman from 2011 to 2015. She served on the Glendale Library Board twice; the first time in the1970s.
During her interview, Koory  always returned to the heart of the city: the people. She said her neighbors “were just like grandparents to my kids. They just kind of put their arms around me and were very supportive.”
When her son died at the age of 20, Koory said, “Everyone surrounded us, were very supportive of our family.”
She jumps from one project to the next, but tries to stay organized. She said she tries to exercise two or three times a week. Nov. 1 was a day set aside for cataract surgery, which would keep her sidetracked for a few days. But her historical society meeting minutes were already typed up and the annual historical society picnic was two weeks away, so she would up and at it in time for that event.
Then, all of January, Koory and other Glendale Arts Council members will devote their time to the annual juried art show. Just another entry into the scrapbook she keeps updated for the arts council.
If you attend the annual picnic, Koory will probably be one of the greeters. It’s just another day of showing her love for Glendale.

 

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