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Comings & Goings: Fisherman’s Inn, Elburn

Peter Hoffman/Staff Photographer The Fishermen's Inn Elburn has 62 acres grounds view from restaraunt's windows. The restaraunt (seen background) hosts

Peter Hoffman/Staff Photographer The Fishermen's Inn in Elburn has 62 acres of grounds to view from the restaraunt's windows. The restaraunt (seen in the background) hosts many weddings and banquets year round. Taken in 2007

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Updated: February 21, 2013 6:31AM

After sitting quietly for three years, Fishermen’s Inn is slowly coming to life once again. The treasured red barn in Elburn that was a destination for decades could open its doors this fall thanks to Mark and Patti Southern, of Big Rock.

The Southerns took ownership of the inn and the surrounding prairieland last fall, and they are in the middle of updating the building’s interior. Other than a deteriorating roof, the restaurant held up well over the few years it sat vacant and mostly is just in need of a facelift, Patti said.

The roof is fixed, and the Southerns are working on stabilizing the grounds and bringing the building up to code. They’ll add an elevator soon. Construction, including the modification of the 150-foot-long trout run, is being documented on their website at

It’s the grounds that really drew the couple to the property, said Patti, who has family ties to the restaurant. Patti’s great uncle, Ralph Schleifer was the second owner of the property and ran the restaurant for over 30 years. “It’s so beautiful out there,” she said.

With Mark’s know-how as an environmental consultant and Patti’s connection to the place, she said they felt they needed to do something with it. “I pretty much grew up there,” she said. “It has so much history.”

The Southerns plan to have a topnotch restaurant as well as grow the restaurant’s wedding services. The inn has two banquet rooms for events, and they are prepping the grounds for outdoor weddings. They’re adding a patio, as well.

“We want it to be a place where people can go and relax and have a nice drink and a really good dinner, and enjoy the property and have a really good experience,” Patti said.

Follow the progress on Facebook at Fishermen’s Inn Elburn.

New director
at Sunnymere

At 53, it’s her first big job. Ruth Isiminger became a nurse just four short years ago and now she will serve as the executive director at Sunnymere, a nonprofit senior living community in Aurora.

Isiminger, of North Aurora, said for years she took care of her mother-in-law, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, at her home and discovered she had a knack for nursing.

“It was a life-changing process,” said the mother of three on caring for the elderly. “I started learning about seniors and the plights that they have.”

Isiminger is replacing Rhonda Sleezer, the executive director for the past 18 years, who is retiring.

“I think they’ll be some pretty big shoes to fill,” Isiminger said. “I hope that I can take (over the position) with some new thoughts and new directions,” she added.

Isiminger previously worked at the Association of Individual Development (AID) in Aurora and is a graduate of Waubonsee Community College’s nursing program.

“I want to do my absolute best so that our seniors can have the best life,” she said.

Sunnymere is near Phillips Park on Aurora’s East Side at 925 Sixth Ave. Visit online at

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