Images: Remembering suburban leaders who passed away in a 2020

 
 
Updated 12/29/2020 6:29 AM

A look at the 2020 local notable deaths of suburban government officials, community leaders, business owners, law officers and men of faith.

Greg Zanis of Aurora with some of the thoughsand sof crosses he single-handedly built for shooting victims across the country. Zanis died of cancer May 4, 2020.
  Greg Zanis of Aurora with some of the thoughsand sof crosses he single-handedly built for shooting victims across the country. Zanis died of cancer May 4, 2020.
Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, 2019
Algonquin village president John Schmitt asks a question to Senator Dick Durbin during his visit to Algqonuin in 2004.
Algonquin village president John Schmitt asks a question to Senator Dick Durbin during his visit to Algqonuin in 2004.
Daily Herald file
Called one of the deans of the Northwest suburbs and Elk Grove Village's elder statesman, James "Jim" Paul Petri is remembered for his impact as the longest-serving elected official in village history. Petri died suddenly in his home July 23, 2020, village officials announced July 24. He was 86.
Called one of the deans of the Northwest suburbs and Elk Grove Village's elder statesman, James "Jim" Paul Petri is remembered for his impact as the longest-serving elected official in village history. Petri died suddenly in his home July 23, 2020, village officials announced July 24. He was 86.
Daily Herald file
Jasper Sanfilippo built his family's nut business into a publicly traded company that last year had $876 million in sales. However, it is his passion for musical instruments, particularly mechanical music machines, that helped shape his legacy. His Barrington Hills home grew to include several additions to showcase his vast collection. He and his wife, Marian, helped nonprofit organizations raise millions of dollars through welcoming them to host their fundraisers at their estate. Sanfilippo died Jan. 28, 2020. He was 88.
Jasper Sanfilippo built his family's nut business into a publicly traded company that last year had $876 million in sales. However, it is his passion for musical instruments, particularly mechanical music machines, that helped shape his legacy. His Barrington Hills home grew to include several additions to showcase his vast collection. He and his wife, Marian, helped nonprofit organizations raise millions of dollars through welcoming them to host their fundraisers at their estate. Sanfilippo died Jan. 28, 2020. He was 88.
Courtesy of Sanfilippo family
Former Wheeling Village President Sheila Schultz, left, poses with her daughter Kathy Ryg during a 2006 family trip to Ireland. Schultz, who died May 29, 2020, was a village resident for more than 65 years, Schultz was first elected as village trustee in 1979 and was elected as Wheeling's first female village president in 1981, a role she held for 16 years.
Former Wheeling Village President Sheila Schultz, left, poses with her daughter Kathy Ryg during a 2006 family trip to Ireland. Schultz, who died May 29, 2020, was a village resident for more than 65 years, Schultz was first elected as village trustee in 1979 and was elected as Wheeling's first female village president in 1981, a role she held for 16 years.
Courtesy of Kathy Ryg
Carol Stream founder, Jay Stream, right, named the village after his daughter, who died at age 77. Her father passed away in 2006.  When her father, developer Jay Stream, built a town almost from scratch in the late 1950s, he named it after his young daughter, who had been seriously injured in a tragic traffic accident. She died Jan. 18, 2020, near Paradise Valley, Arizona, shortly after her 77th birthday.
Carol Stream founder, Jay Stream, right, named the village after his daughter, who died at age 77. Her father passed away in 2006. When her father, developer Jay Stream, built a town almost from scratch in the late 1950s, he named it after his young daughter, who had been seriously injured in a tragic traffic accident. She died Jan. 18, 2020, near Paradise Valley, Arizona, shortly after her 77th birthday.
Courtesy of the village of Carol Stream
The former longtime DuPage County prosecutor and judge Michael Wolfe is remembered for his work ethic, compassion and empathy for victims. He brought a relentless focus prosecuting some of the most heinous criminals in the county's history. Wolfe was part of the team that prosecuted convicted killer Brian Dugan for the 1983 abduction, rape and murder of Jeanine Nicarico, a 10-year-old from Naperville. Wolfe retired from the bench in 2018. He died Feb. 18, 2020 at age 60.
The former longtime DuPage County prosecutor and judge Michael Wolfe is remembered for his work ethic, compassion and empathy for victims. He brought a relentless focus prosecuting some of the most heinous criminals in the county's history. Wolfe was part of the team that prosecuted convicted killer Brian Dugan for the 1983 abduction, rape and murder of Jeanine Nicarico, a 10-year-old from Naperville. Wolfe retired from the bench in 2018. He died Feb. 18, 2020 at age 60.
Daily Herald file, 2008
Bill Grams helped turn an old dairy farm into a famous museum Bill Grams, who with his brother turned a 20-acre farm property into the renowned Volo Auto Museum, has died. Grams, 77, died of a heart attack May 12, 2020 at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Barrington after battling cancer, according to a release on behalf of Volo Auto Museum.
Bill Grams helped turn an old dairy farm into a famous museum Bill Grams, who with his brother turned a 20-acre farm property into the renowned Volo Auto Museum, has died. Grams, 77, died of a heart attack May 12, 2020 at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Barrington after battling cancer, according to a release on behalf of Volo Auto Museum.
Courtesy of Grams family
Vernon "Vern" Oie of St. Charles had his hands in many endeavors in the Tri-Cities over the past nine decades. Oie, 93, died July 25, 2020. "Vern had many wonderful sayings, and the one that he exemplified is: 'If you're going to get involved in something, then do it to make things better, not worse,'" his family wrote in an obituary.
Vernon "Vern" Oie of St. Charles had his hands in many endeavors in the Tri-Cities over the past nine decades. Oie, 93, died July 25, 2020. "Vern had many wonderful sayings, and the one that he exemplified is: 'If you're going to get involved in something, then do it to make things better, not worse,'" his family wrote in an obituary.
Daily Herald file
Rabbi Mark S. Shapiro of Northbrook, longtime leader of Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Glenview, is remembered as an eloquent orator and social justice leader who inspired scores of students to become rabbis themselves. He died Aug. 28, 2020. at age 85 of Parkinson's disease. He was also a lifelong White Sox fan.
Rabbi Mark S. Shapiro of Northbrook, longtime leader of Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Glenview, is remembered as an eloquent orator and social justice leader who inspired scores of students to become rabbis themselves. He died Aug. 28, 2020. at age 85 of Parkinson's disease. He was also a lifelong White Sox fan.
Courtesy of Arnold Hirsch
Walter Newman, who died Sept. 18, 2020 at age 97, is remembered as a world traveler, a generous friend, a curious mind and a Naperville leader who helped guide the community's growth and development for 20 years.
Walter Newman, who died Sept. 18, 2020 at age 97, is remembered as a world traveler, a generous friend, a curious mind and a Naperville leader who helped guide the community's growth and development for 20 years.
Courtesy of the Newman family
Former Palatine Police Chief Jerry Bratcher, right, served for 25 years in that role until his retirement in 1999, died Aug. 26, 2020. The current police chief, who was hired by Bratcher, remembered him as a dedicated, serious cop who came up with innovative ideas, like the neighborhood policing model that is still one of the department's cornerstones. Bratcher was chief during the horrific Brown's Chicken murders in 1993.
Former Palatine Police Chief Jerry Bratcher, right, served for 25 years in that role until his retirement in 1999, died Aug. 26, 2020. The current police chief, who was hired by Bratcher, remembered him as a dedicated, serious cop who came up with innovative ideas, like the neighborhood policing model that is still one of the department's cornerstones. Bratcher was chief during the horrific Brown's Chicken murders in 1993.
Daily Herald file
Jack Claes, the visionary first director of the Elk Grove Park District, is credited with developing several of its cornerstone projects, including Pirates' Cove theme park. Claes died Sunday, May 24, 2020 of natural causes. He was 96.
Jack Claes, the visionary first director of the Elk Grove Park District, is credited with developing several of its cornerstone projects, including Pirates' Cove theme park. Claes died Sunday, May 24, 2020 of natural causes. He was 96.
Courtesy of Nancy Barrett
Former Lake County Board member Carol Spielman died in early June, 2020 at 92. Spielman, a Highland Park Democrat, was honored for the work she did for the county and the support she gave other board members during her tenure, which stretched from 1992 to 2008.
Former Lake County Board member Carol Spielman died in early June, 2020 at 92. Spielman, a Highland Park Democrat, was honored for the work she did for the county and the support she gave other board members during her tenure, which stretched from 1992 to 2008.
Daily Herald file
Warren L. Kammerer, the first elected chairman of the Kane County board died July 20, 2020 at age 95. He was appointed county board chairman in December 1990, then elected in 1992 and served until 1996. Kammerer also was a delegate to the 1992 Republican national convention. Kammerer was elected to the county board in 1982.
Warren L. Kammerer, the first elected chairman of the Kane County board died July 20, 2020 at age 95. He was appointed county board chairman in December 1990, then elected in 1992 and served until 1996. Kammerer also was a delegate to the 1992 Republican national convention. Kammerer was elected to the county board in 1982.
Daily Herald file
Wauconda Township Trustee and former Island Lake board member Steven Stiller is remembered as a dedicated public servant and community volunteer. Stiller, 65, of Island Lake, died in March, 2020 at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Barrington following an accident at his home. Stiller had been on the township board since 2017. But his political career dates back four decades.
Wauconda Township Trustee and former Island Lake board member Steven Stiller is remembered as a dedicated public servant and community volunteer. Stiller, 65, of Island Lake, died in March, 2020 at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Barrington following an accident at his home. Stiller had been on the township board since 2017. But his political career dates back four decades.
Daily Herald file
Bartlett village trustee and Republican nominee for an Illinois House of Representatives seat Michael E. Camerer is being remembered for his service to the community. Camerer died unexpectedly June 18, 2020 at age 61 of natural causes.
Bartlett village trustee and Republican nominee for an Illinois House of Representatives seat Michael E. Camerer is being remembered for his service to the community. Camerer died unexpectedly June 18, 2020 at age 61 of natural causes.
Courtesy of Camerer family
James Fay, who served as superintendent of Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 from 1978 to 1993, died June 19, 2020 of natural causes.
James Fay, who served as superintendent of Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 from 1978 to 1993, died June 19, 2020 of natural causes.
Courtesy of the Fay Family
For many years, John Christopher Armstrong's inspirational welcome-back-to-school and graduation speeches in Wauconda Unit District 118 were memorable events. Armstrong served 21 years on the District 118 school board, including 16 as board president, before retiring two years ago. He died Aug. 25 at age 69.
For many years, John Christopher Armstrong's inspirational welcome-back-to-school and graduation speeches in Wauconda Unit District 118 were memorable events. Armstrong served 21 years on the District 118 school board, including 16 as board president, before retiring two years ago. He died Aug. 25 at age 69.
Daily Herald file
Gary Scholz, who died Sept. 7, 2020 at the age of 90 after being diagnosed with leukemia, was the athletic director at Schaumburg High School from 1980 to 1989. Before that, he was an assistant coach of a variety of sports, including the boys basketball team for which he and his wife Inge hosted frequent spaghetti dinners. The football field at Schaumburg High School named after him in 1989, when he retired after nearly 20 years of service.
Gary Scholz, who died Sept. 7, 2020 at the age of 90 after being diagnosed with leukemia, was the athletic director at Schaumburg High School from 1980 to 1989. Before that, he was an assistant coach of a variety of sports, including the boys basketball team for which he and his wife Inge hosted frequent spaghetti dinners. The football field at Schaumburg High School named after him in 1989, when he retired after nearly 20 years of service.
Courtesy of Schaumburg High School
Retired Illinois State Police Trooper Gregory Rieves is remembered as a respected and supportive teammate in his baseball league. Rieves graduated from Proviso East High School in 1986 and went on to Indiana State University. Rieves, 51, was shot and killed Jan. 24, 2020, by a Chicago woman in a Lisle cigar lounge. He was slain less than a year into his retirement from a 25-year career with the Illinois State Police.
Retired Illinois State Police Trooper Gregory Rieves is remembered as a respected and supportive teammate in his baseball league. Rieves graduated from Proviso East High School in 1986 and went on to Indiana State University. Rieves, 51, was shot and killed Jan. 24, 2020, by a Chicago woman in a Lisle cigar lounge. He was slain less than a year into his retirement from a 25-year career with the Illinois State Police.
Courtesy of Illinois State Police
Dan Wickstrom, right, ran Dick Wickstrom Chevrolet in Roselle with his brother and co-owner Casey, left. He spent the first part of his roughly 30-year career overseeing the sales operations and then ran the services department. He retired about 10 years ago. Wickstrom, who lived in Bloomingdale, died Feb. 2, 2020. He was 61.
Dan Wickstrom, right, ran Dick Wickstrom Chevrolet in Roselle with his brother and co-owner Casey, left. He spent the first part of his roughly 30-year career overseeing the sales operations and then ran the services department. He retired about 10 years ago. Wickstrom, who lived in Bloomingdale, died Feb. 2, 2020. He was 61.
Daily Herald file
Glen Ekey lived what he preached. As executive director of the Naperville Park District from 1981 to 1996, his work spilled into his personal life, loved ones say, blending his passion for recreation with his love of bringing people together. He was the brains behind community initiatives -- including the popular Ribfest -- and the driving force behind professional partnerships that stand strong to this day. And he carried his vision and enthusiasm for Naperville into retirement, offering suggestions and acting as a trusted mentor to leaders who followed in his footsteps. Ekey died Oct. 23, 2020 from pancreatic cancer. He was 79.
Glen Ekey lived what he preached. As executive director of the Naperville Park District from 1981 to 1996, his work spilled into his personal life, loved ones say, blending his passion for recreation with his love of bringing people together. He was the brains behind community initiatives -- including the popular Ribfest -- and the driving force behind professional partnerships that stand strong to this day. And he carried his vision and enthusiasm for Naperville into retirement, offering suggestions and acting as a trusted mentor to leaders who followed in his footsteps. Ekey died Oct. 23, 2020 from pancreatic cancer. He was 79.
Courtesy of Trish Mueller and David Ekey
Rich Martin and K-9 Luther were featured on Good Morning America with anchor Lara Spencer.
Rich Martin and K-9 Luther were featured on Good Morning America with anchor Lara Spencer.
Courtesy of Lutheran Church Charities, 2013
Former Daily Herald sports columnist Bob Frisk. Bob, a longtime Arlington Heights resident who would have turned 84 last June, died at the Hospice Center at the Lutheran Home.
Former Daily Herald sports columnist Bob Frisk. Bob, a longtime Arlington Heights resident who would have turned 84 last June, died at the Hospice Center at the Lutheran Home.
Daily Herald file
Jeannie Morris, a celebrated journalist, bestselling author, globe-trotting adventurer, and award-winning producer and reporter, blazed a trail for women as Chicago's first female sports broadcaster.
Jeannie Morris, a celebrated journalist, bestselling author, globe-trotting adventurer, and award-winning producer and reporter, blazed a trail for women as Chicago's first female sports broadcaster.
Courtesy of Chicago Bears
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