Longtime Lake in the Hills trustee dies
Lake in the Hills has lost one of the people responsible for the town's unprecedented growth that transformed the village in the 1980s and 1990s.
Longtime Trustee Joseph Murawski, 75, died Friday after a long illness.
Murawski 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.
Murawski was acting president for seven months in 1996 and was re-elected to the board in 2003.
While he was on the board, Murawski helped trustees navigate through issues related to growth that touched the village's roads, water system and schools, said Village President Ed Plaza.
"He was instrumental in facilitating the boundary agreements that were put in place from Randall Road west," Plaza said. Murawski, once named United States Air Force Airman of the Month in 1959, found other ways to stay active in his community.
Besides serving on the board of directors for the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce and the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, Murawski was also the village board's liaison to the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Senior Club.
Most notably, Murawski was active with the local Boy Scouts of America and had received the district's award of merit and the Silver Beaver award during the 40 years he spent with the group.
Village Trustee Steve Harlfinger has known Murawski for 25 years and remembered he was one of the leaders in his scouting troop.
"Personally, Joe was an outstanding citizen," Harlfinger said. "He was very polite, he was very courteous, always was willing to listen."
Murawski, recipient of Lake in the Hills citizen of the year award in 1994, was also an all-around nice guy.
Trustee Denise Barreto got acquainted with Murawski and his wife, Jean, in recent years when Barreto was running for trustee.
Their friendship deepened because they all had Sears in common - the Murawskis love shopping there and Barreto works in marketing at the Sears store in Hoffman Estates.
Barreto said both got behind her when she decided to run and that Joseph Murawski was especially supportive.
"I was just pleasantly surprised - he was encouraging to my candidacy and encouraged me to get involved with this board," Barreto said. "From day one, I always felt welcome."
Murawski had been hospitalized with pneumonia since January, Barreto said.
But that didn't stop him from attending board meetings via conference call, said Trustee Bob Huckins.
"Just a few weeks ago, there were a couple of board meetings that he had called in on and he was talking and it was good to hear his voice and good to hear that he was improving," Huckins said. "And then there was a turn for the worse."
Murawski is survived by his wife and their three children: Edward, Suzanne and Joseph Jr.
Funeral arrangements are pending.