Lake Forest vault attendant looks back on career
Christopher Bacon retired in December as safe deposit vault attendant at Northern Trust Company in Lake Forest, where he worked for decades. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:09AM
LAKE FOREST — Christopher Bacon, 55, a lifelong Lake Forester, recently retired as safe deposit vault attendant with Northern Trust. Bacon began his career in 1974 when he took a summer job in high school looking up checks on microfilm.
Q. What different jobs have you had with the bank?
A. In 1974, while in high school, I had a summer intern position with the Northern Trust Bank in Chicago. If people didn’t receive or misplaced their statements, I would reproduce their checks and statement from microfilm. In Lake Forest, I started in the stockroom in 1977 after school while attending the College of Lake County. I worked in receiving, keeping inventory and delivering office supplies and computer paper to different departments. From there, I moved to the Central Information File department inputting new accounts and loans on the computer. In 1981, I worked in the investment department, inputting certificate of deposits and repurchase agreements on the computer, and ordering treasury bills from the Federal Reserve. In 1983 I moved to the safe deposit vault, where I stayed for 29 years.
Q. What was your favorite part of your job?
A. Everyone who comes into the safe deposit vault has a story about why they are there. It may be getting a new car and looking for the old title, getting a birth certificate out for a child’s school or summer program or getting a passport out to take a trip overseas.
Q. What moment will you remember most about your job?
A. Sometimes safe deposit boxes have to be opened when the keys are lost. It is interesting to see what has been forgotten — or the box may be completely empty.
Q. How often do people check their boxes?
A. Usually we see about 10 to 20 people a day. Mondays and Saturdays seem to be the busiest. Some of the things people keep in their boxes are birth certificates, car titles, jewelry, stock certificates, old coins, baseball cards and silverware.
Q. What will you miss most about Northern Trust?
A. The lunch bunch — the group I have lunch with often. They are people that I have known for years and that I consider my friends. My partners always make me smile. The thing I will miss most about the Northern Trust is meeting the clients when they come in. Everyone has a different story and that makes the position interesting.
Q. What will you do in retirement?
A. Since I grew up in Lake Forest, I have wanted to help with the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society for some time. I have been a member for many years and try to get to most of their events. Maybe now I will be able to for sure.
Q. What about Lake Forest sets it apart from other towns?
A. Lake Forest has the best beach anywhere. I often go and walk there. Because Lake Forest is so close to the Lake Michigan, there is often a breeze which keeps it cooler in the summertime.
Q. What is your favorite local event?
A. I think Lake Forest Day is. You have all the kids, the parade and the carnival. Also, it is special best because many come from out of town for class reunions and meet.