Buffalo Grove mourns longtime park commissioner, community volunteer Richard Drazner

Buffalo Grove is mourning the loss of Buffalo Grove Park District Commissioner Rick Drazner, a dedicated community volunteer who served as the board's president, as well as a member of the local Rotary Club, chamber of commerce and Congregation Beth Judea.

Drazner died Friday. He was 58. An attorney and public adjuster, he was known not just for his commitment to community, but also a sense of humor he would use to lighten the mood of otherwise routine functions.

When discussing a dog park, he would wonder whether the district was "barking up the wrong tree." He also was known for calling the last bingo game of Buffalo Grove Days each year, matching a quip with the numbers he pulled.

"His love for the community was unparalleled," said Buffalo Grove Park District board President Scott Jacobson, who also described Drazner as a proud father. "He was very proud of the accomplishments of his daughter and son in their young careers."

Park district Executive Director Ryan Risinger said Drazner made it a point to attend district events.

"Even when he wasn't feeling well, he still made it out there," he said.

Drazner's tenure was eventful, with the park district completing projects such as the Buffalo Grove Fitness Center, the Golf Dome, the Community Arts Center, the redevelopment of Willow Stream Park and the Buddy Baseball Field.

"(Buddy Baseball Field) was one thing that he was extremely proud of," Jacobson said. "He talked about that as one of the crowning achievements of the park district."

Risinger said Drazner also "had a keen interest" in the district's work with Northwest Special Recreation Association on the adaptive theater program Broadway Buddies, which is offered at the Community Arts Center.

"He wanted to make sure everybody had an opportunity," Park Board Commissioner Larry Reiner said.

Drazner, who served on the board for 20 years, was re-elected Tuesday and slated to become vice president.

"I was so looking forward to serving this term with Rick, because the park district is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and Rick was looking forward to it," said Commissioner Adriane Johnson, who is expected to become board president.

Commissioner Tracy Bragg recalled Drazner's dedication to Rotary, where he served along with her husband, Village Manager Dane Bragg.

"His empowering others and encouraging others and his commitment was just very heartfelt, and it's going to be a huge loss to the community," she said.

Drazner is survived by his wife, Melissa, two children and mother, Yvette Drazner. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Chicago Jewish Funerals, 195 N. Buffalo Grove Road.

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