Lifelong resident and former alderman Donald Nippert will be buried in St. Charles this week as his family and the community remember all that he contributed over the years.
Nippert, 87, died peacefully at his St. Charles home on Thursday, his family said.
"I knew what my dad meant to me, but I didn't know what he meant to St. Charles," said Nippert's son Dan, who lives in Geneva. "Sometimes it takes something like this to force you to see that my dad wasn't just the best dad in the world to me, but he was something special to this town."
Nippert was a fifth generation resident and related to some of the original settlers in St. Charles.
He is survived by his wife, two sons, five granddaughters and three great grandchildren.
Nippert, born in 1925, graduated from St. Charles High School and served in the Army as a paratrooper during World War II. While assigned to work at a veterans hospital in Salt Lake City, he met his future wife, Hattie, who was working as a Red Cross nurse's aide. They were married two months later and would have celebrated their 68th anniversary later this month.
Nippert was a St. Charles alderman for 10 years and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as a member of the Northern Illinois Selective Service Board for eight years.
He was also life member of the St. Charles American Legion Post 342, where he made friends and connections around the Chicago area.
Chuck Ingersoll, of Elgin, met Nippert in the American Legion about 30 years ago, long after Nippert served as commander of the St. Charles post. As a past commander, Nippert remained a leader in the organization practically until he died.
Nippert was the president of the Veterans Support Group -- which used to be the building association -- until last year when his term ended and he chose not to run for re-election. He emceed the annual Past Commanders Dinner for a number of years. And he spearheaded an effort in the American Legion post to donate a few thousand dollars to the St. Charles Heritage Center.
"He was an integral part of everything that went on at that post," Ingersoll said.
As a past commander for more than 50 years, Nippert played a key role in welcoming new members and getting more people involved in the organization. He was the oldest living member of American Legion Post 342 until he died Thursday.
Nippert's son Dan said he has been receiving calls and emails from people in St. Charles and all over the country to share stories about his father.
"He was wise, a very wise man with a brilliant memory," Dan said. "I maybe took it for granted because it was my dad, but people were captured by him. I couldn't be prouder to be his son."
Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until noon on Monday, July 8, at Moss-Norris Funeral Home, 100 S. Third St., St. Charles, where the funeral service will follow at noon. Interment will be in Union Cemetery in St. Charles. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Charles Heritage Center, 215 E. Main St. in St. Charles.