UPDATE: Obituary, Ceremonies And Remembrances of Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner
The city of Aurora is mourning the loss of one of its favorite sons, longtime Mayor Tom Weisner, who died Friday, Dec. 28, 2018, after a long battle with cancer.
Weisner will lie in state from 2 p.m to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, and Friday, Jan. 11, at New England Congregational Church, 406 W. Galena Boulevard, and a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Boulevard.
Arrangements are being handled by The Daleiden Mortuary, 220 N. Lake St., Aurora. His full obituary appears below.
The city of Aurora announced the passing of its 57th mayor in a Dec. 28 news release. Officials said Weisner, 69, died with his wife of 46 years, Marilyn, and his family by his side.
Weisner served as mayor from his first term in 2005 until his retirement near the end of his third term in 2016. Prior to his years as mayor, he worked for nearly two decades in a number of executive positions in City Hall.
Born and raised in Batavia, he went to high school at Marmion Academy. After school, he joined the Peace Corps and served the people of the Solomon Islands, then returned to Aurora, where he took up a career of service to his community.
“Not only did he make Aurora better, but he also made everyone he came into contact with better,” Irvin said. “He was a true public servant who will forever live in the hearts and minds of the people.”
Among the city’s accomplishments during Weisner’s 11-plus years as mayor was a significant drop in violent crime, culminating in 2012, when the city reported zero homicides.
Aurora had a number of successful public-private development projects during his tenure, including the development of the once-environmentally challenged property that eventually would be be named Thomas J. Weisner RiverEdge Park.
Weisner was always a proponent of technology, and among his city’s accomplishments was the $7 million investment in OnLight Aurora, the city’s fiber optic network.
During Weisner’s time in office, the Paramount Theatre saw a true Renaissance, bringing hundreds of thousands of theatergoers to Aurora each year and becoming a perennial powerhouse in the Jeff Awards, Chicago’s version of New York’s theatrical Tony Awards.
In an article he wrote himself in 2015, Weisner described the Paramount as “the central symbol of a proud and burgeoning community.”
When he stepped down from the mayor’s office in August 2016, Weisner talked frankly about his battle with cancer as well as his legacy as mayor.
“Let me say that I have led a fortunate life, to date,” he said. “I have had both the honor and the stimulating challenge of leading Illinois’s second largest city through the Great Recession. I am most thankful for both that honor and that challenge, for this has caused me to try to operate consistently at my very best. No doubt, I haven’t always succeeded, but as Theodore Roosevelt might say, I have been blessed to be ‘the man in the arena.’
“I do not know what the future brings . . . or how long my future will be. When you think about it, none of us really does. To the extent the Good Lord will abide me, I will continue to work toward what I believe in, though in a more measured way.
“Lastly, let me thank the good people of Aurora who have made me so proud of this city. It is you, who work so hard to raise a family, to provide, to abide by the law and your religious beliefs, to volunteer, to help your neighbor, and to tolerate the imperfections of government … It is you who make me feel that my life has been so worthwhile.”
Weisner is survived by his wife, Marilyn; a son, Anthony; and two granddaughters. He was preceded in death by his son Thaddeus.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Weisner’s memory to the Weisner Family Foundation #164, 2112 W. Galena Boulevard, Suite 8, Aurora, IL 60506, or the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, P.O. Box 2602, Aurora, IL 60507-2602.
A full obituary will appear on www.daleidenmortuary.com later this week and in the Beacon News and Chicago Tribune Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019.
Obituary for Thomas J. Weisner
Thomas J. Weisner, Mayor, Community Advocate, Peace Corps Volunteer, Devoted Husband and Father, Dies at 69.
Thomas J. Weisner, the visionary former mayor of Aurora, IL, passed away peacefully following complications from cancer at age 69. Weisner stepped down as mayor in 2016 to focus on his health after battling cancer for more than decade.
He is credited with transforming the city of Aurora from an old industrial town in decline to one of the “Best Places in the United States to Realize the American Dream,” according to SmartAssett.
Born in Batavia to Kathleen S. and John T. Weisner, Tom attended Marmion Military Academy, Marquette University and Aurora University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in organizational development.
He moved to Aurora in 1973 after marrying his lifelong love, Marilyn Hogan. Fully embracing the notion that he could make the world a better place, he joined the Peace Corps in 1981 with Marilyn, serving the native population for five years by assisting with health and nutrition improvement projects.
Returning home to Aurora, Tom began a long career with the city of Aurora, culminating in his election as its 57th mayor in 2005, serving for three terms.
With his beloved family at the forefront, Tom’s resolve to make his world, the community of Aurora, a better place became a deeply personal mission.
Guiding the city through the most devastating national recession since the Great Depression, he remained committed to his vision of a safe, vibrant, modern Aurora. He was a persistent and determined leader with a commitment to consensus building, positively changing the landscape of Aurora forever.
Tom was a friend and fierce advocate for disadvantaged people and persons with disabilities, both as a leader and a public servant, serving on the boards of numerous organizations, including East Aurora Educational Foundation, United Way, Quad County Urban League, and Communities In Schools, and championing the causes of the disability community.
He rang bells for the Salvation Army, supported struggling immigrant families and mentored students.
Mayor Weisner was a driving force behind countless initiatives that serve residents, businesses and visitors of Aurora each day, including:
- Completion of the Eola Road Interchange.
- Expansion of Chicago Premium Outlets.
- Construction of Aurora’s Police Campus.
- Building of the Santori Public Library.
- Opening of River Edge Park,.
- Launching of Paramount’s Broadway Series.
- Expansion of Waubonsee Community College’s Aurora Campus.
- Expansion of early childhood education opportunities through SPARK.
- Development of the Station Boulevard neighborhood.
- Enhancement of the Route 59 transit center,.
- Reconstruction of 12 bridges,.
- Construction of the Ogden Avenue overpass.
- Reconfiguration of Aurora’s one-way streets,.
- Revitalization of the St. Charles Senior Living Center.
- Revitalization of Leland Tower and Restaurant Row and the Mayan renovation.
- Redevelopment of the old public library.
- Development of River Street condos.
- Redevelopment of the Fred Rodgers Magnet Academy.
- Implementation of Aurora’s fiber optic network.
Prior to leaving office, Weisner laid the groundwork for several influential projects that continue to move forward today, such as opening of the Paramount Center for the Performing Arts, development of the Weisner Family Career Development Center, and construction of a pedestrian bridge connecting the East and West sides of the community near River Edge Park.
Mayor Weisner’s success in Aurora gave him a platform to tackle other regional, state and national policies. He became an outspoken supporter of railroad safety, leader on regional water sustainability and advocate for pension reform. Despite all his success and persistent calls to consider higher office, Tom never wavered from his commitment to Aurora.
Tom believed that Aurora’s success has never been dependent on any one person, but on the promise that “each of us has the power to shape Aurora’s future,” and hoped to inspire a new generation of leaders to act on the belief that they too can change their community — their world — through service.
Tom Weisner is survived by his wife Marilyn Hogan Weisner, son Anthony (Allison) Scotti, granddaughters Olivia and Zoe, sisters Judie (Rick) Clark, Wendolyn (Gerald) Smith, Wayne (Candy) Weisner, and numerous beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his son Thaddeus in 2006, and his parents Kathleen (Schramer) and John T. Weisner.
He will lie in state from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 and Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, at New England Congregational Church, 406 W. Galena Boulevard, Aurora.
A private burial will take place at Marywood Cemetery with the Rev. Bernard Schaefer, OSB, officiating. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Boulevard, Aurora. Arrangements are being handled by THE DALEIDEN MORTUARY, 220 N. Lake St., Aurora, 630-631-5500.
Please visit the funeral home’s website at www.daleidenmortuary.com,where you may leave condolences for Tom’s family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Tom’s memory to the Weisner Family Foundation, #164, 2112 W. Galena Bouulevard, Suite. 8, Aurora, IL 60506 or the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, P.O. Box 2602, Aurora, IL 60507-2602
Special Radio Broadcast
Radio station 95.9 The River and the city of Aurora hosted a special live onsite radio broadcast — “Remembering Mayor Weisner” — from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 4, at Aurora City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place.
The public was invited to attend, and many joined 95.9 The River’s Morning Show hosts Scott Mackay and Danielle Tufano as they honored Weisner in Aurora City Council Chambers.
- Aurora Community Will Say Goodbye to Mayor Tom Weisner at Oct. 24 Open House
- Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner Will Step Down Oct. 30 Due to Battle With Cancer
- Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner Will Not Seek Re-Election Due to Toll of Cancer Treatments
- Mayor: Paramount Theatre Leads Aurora Renaissance