Friends and family will gather Saturday morning to remember former Milton Township Trustee Patrick Kehoe.
A recently elected trustee, the Wheaton man died unexpectedly Sunday while traveling to Springfield for the 106th Annual Township Officials of Illinois Education Conference with Trustees Marty Keller and Yadav Nathwani. He was 66.
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Trustee Sal Falbo said he and Kehoe were friends for several years when they were both precinct committeemen in the township. Preparing to attend Kehoe's visitation Friday, Falbo said he's still coming to grips with the loss of his friend.
"Anytime the phone rings, I'm waiting for someone to tell me that it was all a big mistake," he said. "Nothing about this makes sense."
Friends say Kehoe took great pride in his volunteerism, especially when it came to the annual Prairie Path Cleanup hosted by the Wheaton Environmental Improvement Commission and his efforts at that Milton Township Food Pantry.
"Anytime someone was looking for a project, Pat would chime in (and say) 'You can always raise money for the food pantry. There's always hungry people who need help,'" Keller said. "Pat has a beautiful wife (Diane), four healthy successful children and grandchildren he adored, so he considered himself blessed and he wanted to share that with others."
Milton Township Supervisor Chris Heidorn also remembers working with Kehoe to solicit funds for the pantry and said that was just who Kehoe was. Kehoe, he said, is the first township official to die in office.
"(Patrick) was a thoughtful and conscientious trustee, inquisitive about all aspects of this local government, educating himself thoroughly in his duties and the functions of all the elected offices," Heidorn said. "He thought outside the box and looked for ways to improve our services to the community while demanding accountability and efficiency at all times."
A funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Michael Catholic Church, 310 S. Wheaton Ave., Wheaton. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Child's Voice, a deaf education organization in Wood Dale.