Anthony Jachec, manager of Honey Hill Beach in Wauconda, dies at 90
For longtime Wauconda resident Anthony W. Jachec, the beach his family once owned and operated on the western shore of Bangs Lake wasn't just a business.
Honey Hill Beach was a place to make friends.
"He loved working at the beach and loved interacting with all of the visitors who enjoyed the beach on a daily basis," said his daughter, Mary Beth Jachec. "He developed lifelong friendships with many of the dedicated and regular customers who came to the beach year after year."
Jachec, 90, died Friday. He had leukemia, his daughter said.
Jachec had run Honey Hill Beach, later known as Sunny Hill Beach, for parts of six decades.
Born in 1929 in Chicago, Jachec -- who went by "Tony" -- graduated from DePaul University and later served in the Army.
After moving to Wauconda, his parents established Honey Hill Beach on their Main Street property next to the already popular Phil's Beach. Jachec managed the enterprise starting in 1945.
Like Phil's Beach, Honey Hill attracted beachgoers from across the Chicago area. Honey Hill was the first of the two beaches to install a large, J-shaped slide.
"Wauconda was the place to be in the summer," said Nancy Burton, executive director of the Wauconda Park District.
Wauconda Township Supervisor Glenn Swanson worked at Honey Hill Beach as a teen in the late 1970s. He parked guests' cars after Jachec, who worked the front gate, collected admission fees.
Swanson handled other projects with Jachec, too -- like the time he helped Jachec build a storage shed using wood from old picnic tables.
"I learned a lot from Tony, how to put stuff together," Swanson said.
In 1979, the cast and crew of the now-classic film "The Blues Brothers" descended on both beaches to shoot a key scene. The famed Bluesmobile drove across the sand as Jake and Elwood Blues used an oversized loudspeaker to promote their upcoming concert.
Mary Beth Jachec was 17 at the time and an extra in the scene. In a 2014 interview, she remembered how her dad threatened to stop production unless stars John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd came out of their trailer and posed for pictures. They did.
The business was renamed Sunny Hill Beach in 1980. It closed to the public in 1992. The Honey Hill condominium complex is there now.
In the days since her father's passing, Mary Beth Jachec has been contacted by so many people wanting to share touching and funny stories about her dad, she said.
"The common theme in their messages was, 'Your dad was so funny,'" she said. "He knew everyone and had a joke and a story for anyone and everyone he encountered."
Jachec's survivors include his wife, Connie; three children; four grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters.
The funeral will be private. Instead of flowers, donations in Jachec's honor can be made to Alexian Brothers Hospice House, 901 Martha St., Elk Grove Village, IL, 60007.