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posted: 12/28/2010 1:00 AM

Notable deaths in 2010 in Fox Valley

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  • Bill Chesbrough

      Bill Chesbrough

  • Bruce Conley

      Bruce Conley

  • Linnea Miller

      Linnea Miller

  • Joe Murawski

      Joe Murawski

  • Chuck Lencioni was grand marshal during the 2010 Swedish Days Parade in downtown Geneva.

       Chuck Lencioni was grand marshal during the 2010 Swedish Days Parade in downtown Geneva.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Tom Peck works the family farm in 1948.

      Tom Peck works the family farm in 1948.

  • Harold "Red" Floyd

      Harold "Red" Floyd

 
 

Every year about this time, we look back at the year that was to sort out our most significant suburban achievements, the low points and the people who made it all happen.

We'd be remiss if we didn't look fondly upon some of the people who helped shape the Fox Valley, who shaped us, and are no longer with us.

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Here is a remembrance of seven people who died in 2010 and who will be missed.

Bill Chesbrough

Bill Chesbrough was the dean of Elgin boys basketball. The legendary former boys basketball coach and athletic director at Elgin High School, passed away at 92.

He coached the Maroons for 35 years, winning 573 of the 919 games he coached, putting him 37th on the all-time list for wins in IHSA boys basketball history.

"He's probably one of the finest human beings I've ever met in my life as well as being a first-class basketball coach," said Jim Harrington, who succeeded Chesbrough as Elgin's coach in 1985. "We don't have people like him in our profession anymore. It was a pleasure to be associated with him all these years.

While retiring a quarter century ago, Ches, as he was known, remained a resident of the Fox Valley area and as recently as a year ago was still active at community events as well as a spectator at a basketball game or two.

His 1955 Elgin High team finished second in the IHSA state tournament. His teams made three other Elite Eight appearances and won 21 regional championships and 10 sectional titles.

The field house at Elgin High, which opened in 1972, is named in his honor.

Bruce Conley

Bruce Conley spent his entire adult life helping others heal from the loss of a loved one. As a funeral director in Elburn, he did much more than embalm the dead; he helped the living deal with their grief in ways not commonly seen.

How could Conley, 60, have prepared people for his own death from liver cancer?

"He was such a visionary and was so far ahead on everything that has evolved (in the funeral industry)," said Tigger Kainz, who has worked at Conley Funeral Home for nine years and was a classmate and friend of Conley in the Kaneland High School Class of 1968.

"Bruce always told us that the funeral service was just a Band-Aid on the grief, and that everything else we do is what helps the family," Kainz said. "I was part of the crisis teams that Bruce would take into the schools (to address a tragedy) and it was one of the most difficult things we did, yet it was the most rewarding."

A key part of Conley's philosophy about healing manifested itself in his creation in 1995 of the nonprofit Conley Outreach Community Services, which helped grieving children and adults in all facets of community life.

His son, Ben, took over operation of the funeral home during the last eight month's of his dad's life.

Linnea Miller

Longtime Batavia Alderman Linnea Miller's death from breast cancer was a big loss to the city.

"She was so upbeat and so positive about what was happening," Mayor Jeff Schielke said.

Miller, 61, and her husband, W.C. "Buzz" Miller, were named Batavia Citizens of the Year for 2009, and were scheduled to receive the award Jan. 30 at the Batavia Chamber of Commerce's annual awards banquet.

A community volunteer, she was a 3rd Ward alderman since 1995. One of her greatest concerns was providing housing affordable for young adults and single parents in order to energize the city.

Joe Murawski

Lake in the Hills lost one of the people responsible for the town's unprecedented growth during the 1980s and 1990s when village trustee Joseph Murawski passed away.

Murawski, 75, had been involved in village politics since 1981, when he was appointed to the zoning board of appeals. In 1991, he was elected to trustee and served two terms through 1999. He was acting mayor for seven months in 1996 and was re-elected to the board in 2003.

"He was instrumental in facilitating the boundary agreements that were put in place from Randall Road west," Village President Ed Plaza said.

He won the village's citizen of the year award in 1994.

Chuck Lencioni

Chuck Lencioni was the grand marshal for 2010's Swedish Days parade, and he waved and smiled to the people of Geneva all along the parade route. For most of them, he was waving goodbye. Not long after the parade, the 55-year-old succumbed to lung cancer.

"It was a great way for the community to come out and say, yes, we appreciate all you have done for us," said Jean Gaines, the executive director of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.

"Chuck's legacy, I think, is self-evident in that every corner of this community has his fingerprints all over it," Mayor Kevin Burns said. "And not just as building commissioner -- as a firefighter, proud alumnus of Geneva High School and a father."

Tom Peck

Tom Peck was one of the oldest living continuous residents of Geneva.

He hailed from the Peck family, one of the city's early pioneers and legendary farmers and sheep herders.

His death at 89 shocked those who'd seen him and his wife Marie a few weeks earlier at a community picnic commemorating the city's 175th birthday party.

In 2005, he sold the last few acres near his South Street home of what had been a 1,600-acre family farm, covering land that is now Eagle Brook subdivision, First Baptist Church of Geneva and the Geneva Commons.

He was the son of Seth Peck, who was one of four sons of family patriarch Eli Peck, who brought the family to Geneva from New England in 1843.

Red Floyd

Harold "Red" Floyd was appointed to the Kane County Board in October 2001. But he was best known in Carpentersville for his desire to help out in any way he could.

He served on the village's planning and zoning board; for 24 years he was a local coordinator for Smiles Tag Days of Little City Foundation, a Palatine organization serving children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"There are people that have been in Carpentersville that have done so many wonderful things, but he got involved in any place that needed help, any activity," county board member Hollie Lindgren said.

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