Praise for Pradel reigns during first Naperville meeting after his death
It was fitting that on the day of his death, the group of elected officials Naperville Mayor Emeritus A. George Pradel led for 20 years as mayor met for a moment of silence in his honor.
A Naperville City Council meeting began with reflections from council members and a brief pause for thoughts and prayers lifted up silently in honor of 80-year-old Pradel.
After a battle with cancer, Pradel died Tuesday, the day before his 81st birthday.
Mayor Steve Chirico, the first to follow Pradel in the role he held from 1995 to 2015, started the meeting by recognizing Pradel as one of the pillars of the community.
Pradel called the establishment of the city's Safety Town his proudest achievement as mayor. The facility now bears his name, as well as the name of his late wife, Patricia.
"Above all, Mayor Pradel loved his family," Chirico said. "I can't think of a more genuine love than the love he had for his wife, Pat, and for their kids, George, Carol and Gary, and now his grandchildren and great-grandchildren."
Council member Kevin Coyne praised Pradel for his charm and charisma, for doing what's best for the community.
"I will always think of George as the standard, not just for what elected officials should strive to be but what people should strive to be," Coyne said.
Council member Benny White said Pradel was a large part of why he and his family moved to Naperville from Kansas as he was taking a job at Wheaton College. He said he saw a clip of Pradel talking up Naperville on the news and was taken by his enthusiasm and hometown pride.
"When I ran for council, I had a lot of people congratulate me," White said about the successful campaign he ran in 2017. "Nothing touched me more than when Mayor Pradel came up to me and said one thing he regretted was not having an opportunity to serve with me. It touched my heart."
Members of the city's senior task force, police department and a Naperville-based childhood cancer nonprofit praised Pradel as well during discussions of unrelated agenda items, showing his broad influence on the city he always called home.
Pradel's family says funeral arrangements are pending. Once details are set, they will be posted to the website pradel.com.