Buffalo Grove's 'voice of the residents' dies at 73

The longest-serving trustee in the history of Buffalo Grove, who lent his financial expertise during a time of exponential growth for the village, has died.

John Marienthal died Sept. 21, after a long illness. He was 73.

Marienthal first was elected to the village board in 1975, just six years after the Buffalo Grove Park District had formed, and three years after Buffalo Grove High School opened. The village's population at the time was just over 15,000.

Over the next two decades, the village would oversee abundant land development, particularly into Lake County, as well as the development of its Town Center. Its population nearly tripled, reaching more than 40,000 in 1997.

During all of these changes and until he stepped down in 2002, Marienthal was a stabilizing force on board, his colleagues said.

"John always looked at these development projects from a business model," says Bill Balling, former Buffalo Grove village manager. "He always looked at the cost and finance issues - including making sure developers paid their share of infrastructure costs.

"He looked at these changes as transactional opportunities that would benefit the village and by extension, the residents," Balling added.

Former state Rep. Sidney Mathias served as a village trustee and as village president alongside Marienthal.

"Whenever there were controversial decisions, he always had the best interest in mind," Mathias said. "We sometimes disagreed, but it was never disagreeable."

Former Trustee Jeffrey Berman served on the board with Marienthal from 1999 to 2002. He described him as someone who was committed to public service and wanted to see the village grow and prosper.

"John was a populist," Berman said. "He strived to be the voice of the residents whenever issues arose."

Buffalo Grove's most recent former village president, Jeffrey Braiman, also served with Marienthal on the board of trustees for many years.

He agreed with his colleagues in describing Marienthal as a committed public servant who always put the betterment of the village first.

"John understood the need for public service," Braiman said. "He always came from a position to better the village."

Marienthal is survived by his wife, Karole, as well as his children, Matthew (Maureen) and Kristopher Marienthal, and four grandchildren.

Visitation for Marienthal will take place at 10 a.m. Friday followed by an 11 a.m. funeral Mass, both at St. Mary Catholic Church, 10 N. Buffalo Grove Road in Buffalo Grove.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.