A lifelong Naperville resident known for her volunteer efforts, devotion to family and uncanny memory has died just before the opening of the Last Fling festival she often helped plan with the Naperville Jaycees.
Lynette Klingbeil, a longtime Jaycees member who was executive director of the Last Fling in 2001, died unexpectedly Tuesday in her home. She was 50.
"She was always willing to volunteer and give whatever she could to causes she felt were important and to be a very devoted daughter, sister, aunt and cousin," said her brother, Jesse Klingbeil of Chicago.
His sister's interest in volunteering began at Naperville Central High School, when she also was a baton twirler for the Stepperettes in the Marching Redskins. Klingbeil, the oldest sibling to two younger brothers -- Jesse and Michael, who goes by "Casey" -- attended Ellsworth Elementary and Washington Junior High schools before heading to Naperville Central and graduating in 1981.
Her volunteer efforts ramped up a few years after she graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where she studied marketing and communications.
"We joined the Jaycees together after a number of years out of college," said Jane Abe, who grew up across an alley from Klingbeil's Naperville home. "We had a lot of fun during our years with the Jaycees."
Klingbeil's desire to give back led her to plan the Last Fling, the annual Labor Day weekend festival and the Jaycees' largest fundraiser, which helps the group make donations to dozens of area social service and nonprofit agencies. This year's festival begins at 5 p.m. Friday.
Abe said Klingbeil also enjoyed going to concerts and spending time with friends at downtown Naperville establishments like the Lantern Tavern or Potter's Place Mexican Kitchen and Cantina.
"She maintained a large number of friends she's had since she was a very small child," her brother said, calling Klingbeil a "giving, happy and loving person" who was always full of kind words.
As girls, Klingbeil, Abe and others in their neighborhood would play hide-and-seek or kick-the-can down alleys until their mothers called them in for the evening. As teens, they enjoyed sunbathing on the roof outside Abe's window. And Klingbeil's sharp memory collected and recalled nearly every moment, her friend said.
"She had such a memory like a vault," Abe said. "She could pull out every memory and half of us wouldn't even remember that but we would trust her."
Longtime friends also include Darrick Zderad, whom Klingbeil knew since high school and recently had become even closer with, her brother said. And her family also has stayed close, with her father, Richard, her mother, Darlene Ebel, brother Michael, two nieces, an aunt and an uncle all living in Naperville and another aunt and uncle in Lisle.
Klingbeil most recently worked as a freelance graphic designer for Positively Naperville and the Naperville Development Partnership, satisfying "an artistic talent she possessed," her brother said.
Visitation is scheduled for 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, and 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2, at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 44 S. Mill St., Naperville. Funeral services will follow the second visitation session at 4 p.m. Monday in the funeral home.