The Devonshire Homeowners Association (DHA) was formed as a Non-Profit Homeowners Organization in 1976 to keep the community safe and attractive. The neighborhood was originally developed by George Shapland and Tom Harrington.

collection of stories of the Devonshire Neighborhood from Current and past residents


Author: Sneha Kottapalli

Dick and Judi Baylor moved into the Devonshire neighborhood in November 1973 along with their sons, Greg and Mark. Back then, Dick began his career as a diagnostic radiologist at Carle and Judi retired as a registered nurse to be a full time mother. Before Devonshire, they lived in Stonegate apartments for 4 years, out of which they spent 8 months looking for their forever-home. They wanted a 1.5 story house with the master bedroom on the first floor and a full basement. This was unheard of back in the 1970s, so they built their own home on Noel Dr with the help of Bill Reeser, one of the 5 builders in Devonshire's eleven subdivisions. Bill quickly became close to the family, so much so that Judi considered him to be another father. Bill babysat Greg and Mark on several occasions and even introduced Greg to hammering nails at a young age (under careful supervision, of course).

When the Baylors first moved in, several lots around them were still empty, Windsor Road was a two-lane road, and south of Windsor was a farmland with a huge barn. They received a warm welcome from the Welcome Wagon. The neighborhood had several young boys and 4 girls who zoomed in and out of houses (most residents had an open-door policy) playing on the streets and raising a cacophony. Judi and the other young mothers in the neighborhood formed the stitch-n-b**ch club bonding over stitching rugs and discussing their parenthood chagrins. The club led to such close friendships that the members still meet up once a year even though they have moved away. In another example of neighborhood camaraderie, Dick used to share the produce from his vegetable garden with neighbors and friends alike. Like their neighbors, they planted several baby trees wondering if they will see them mature.

Fast forward 46 years to 2019, Noel Dr looks very different now with the young kids having grown up and moved out while the baby trees have matured into tall trees casting enviable shade. Both Dick and Judi noted that the neighborhood demographic seems to be cycling through with younger families moving in eagerly. After retiring from Carle, Dick became a Master Gardener trained by the University of Illinois Extension. Walking by their home on Noel Dr, it is hard to miss the impeccable landscaping. On a nice sunny day, you are also sure to spot Judi sprucing up their front yard by weeding and the like. Both reckon that it was the best decision to live in Champaign and especially Devonshire.

MRS. TONI GREENBERG: 1006 Page Drive

Author: Joan Tousey

As one of the very first homeowners in Devonshire, Dr. Eugene and Mrs. Toni Greenberg had a home built in the neighborhood in 1968, working with developer Dick Getman, at the corner of Page Drive and Lynwood. They moved from that home only in the late spring of 2018. It was a difficult decision for Toni and Gene to leave Devonshire after 50 years in the neighborhood, but the stairs in the two story house were creating problems for them. The house has now been renovated by its new owners, J and Katie Leman and family.

The relationship between the first owners of 1006 Page Drive and the new owners goes back several years. J Leman, along with his brothers and sister, provided lawn service to many Devonshire families over the past 20 years. Once at the University of Illinois and as a football player, J would occasionally help Toni (aka “Mrs. G”) out at estate sales by bringing along some of his teammates to assist with heavy items. J's sister, Julie, also lives in the neighborhood along with her husband and family.

When the Greenbergs settled in the neighborhood, their children were 3, 6 and 9. One of the major changes they have noticed over the years is the shifting demographics, with fewer children in the past several years, and consequently, fewer “trick or treaters” at Halloween. However, times are ‘a changing, as Page Drive and Seaton Court have many younger families and children who now occupy several houses.

Mrs. Toni Greenberg will continue to have special memories from her 50 years in Devonshire, as she and Gene enjoy their new one level home in another Champaign neighborhood.



Author: Joan Tousey

In September 2018, current Devonshire resident Walt Tousey visited with Joseph Smith at Clark Lindsey to talk about the Smith family’s time in the neighborhood. They lived at 1102 Devonshire from the early 1960s until Joseph and Laverne moved to Clark Lindsey three years ago. Both Laverne (2017) and Joseph (2018) have now passed away. (Portions of Joseph Smith's obituary appear below.)

As a young African American family looking for housing in the early 1960s, their realtor would only show them a few developments. At first, neighbors were not entirely accepting, but thankfully, that changed over time. Their children grew up in the neighborhood, went to Champaign public schools, and became friends with many other Devonshire families. In spite of some of the hostility they encountered early on, Joseph and Laverne found the neighborhood to be a great place to raise children, made life long friends here, and felt comfortable that they had made the right choice to live in Devonshire for more than 50 years.

Joseph Smith was born Oct. 5, 1923, in Maywood, to Charles Smith and Mabel Rice., and passed away in Urbana, IL on Sept. 21, 2018. He attended Thyne Institute, Chase City, Va., from 1937-1942. A veteran of World War II, Joseph joined the Marine Corps in 1943 and was assigned to base camp at Montford Point, Camp Lejeune, N.C. He was honorably discharged in 1946.

He graduated from Howard University, Washington, D.C., in 1951 with a degree in English and received his master’s degree in education from Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., in 1953.

Joseph married LaVerne Roberts, the daughter of his father’s childhood friend, in 1951. Together they had three children, Pamela, Daniel and Jocelyn.

From 1954-1964, Joseph taught at the elementary, junior and senior high schools and a junior college in Jackson. Joseph began his career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1964, where he was one of the first African-American faculty members hired by the University. In 1978, he was named assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs, director of affirmative action and associate professor of English.

He was a longtime member of Chapel of Saint John the Divine and served in his local parish, the Diocese of Springfield and the Episcopal Church in several roles: lay eucharistic minister, vestry member, diocesan synod delegate, Diocesan Standing Committee, board of trustees, Seminary of the Southwest; board of trustees, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.

Joseph was a member of the Montford Point Marine Association. In 2012, he was proud to be among the 368 surviving Montford Point Marines who were recognized by Congress with the nation's highest civilian honor, the congressional gold medal. Joseph and Laverne supported a number of local organizations including the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.