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updated: 1/13/2014 5:39 PM

Former Des Plaines alderman John Dini dies

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  • John Dini

      John Dini

 
 

A former Des Plaines alderman known for community involvement ranging from little league baseball umpire to organizer in local Republican party politics has died.

John Dini, 60, served as alderman of Des Plaines' sixth ward from 1981 to 1985, and also served as the city's director of emergency management in the 1980s and early 1990s.

His son, Anthony Dini, said his father had been suffering from a number of health problems since Nov. 1, starting with a blood infection. On Monday, he succumbed to illness after having spent time the past few months in and out of a hospital and rehabilitation center.

John Dini was an umpire, umpire coordinator and board member of the South Side Little League, and also one-time chairman of the Maine Township Regular Republican Organization. He also served as president of the Des Plaines Community Foundation.

But one of the roles for which he was most proud was playing Santa Claus at city Christmas parties for 22 years, Anthony Dini said.

"The plaque on his wall said he's the official Santa for the Des Plaines Police Department," Anthony Dini said.

John ran On-time Distribution, originally called O'Hare News Agency, a Des Plaines-based newspaper distribution company, from the 1970s until he sold it 14 years ago. That's when he bought the Paradise Camping Resort in Garden Prairie, Ill., and moved there with his wife, Lorene, to operate it.

A 1971 graduate of Maine West High School, John also served as the school's assistant wrestling coach at one time.

He is survived by his wife, son, father, brother and sister, and three grandchildren.

Visitation is scheduled from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday at Oehler Funeral Home, 2099 Miner St. in Des Plaines. A funeral will be held Saturday at 11:15 a.m., from the chapel to St. Stephens Church, with a Mass at noon.

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