Kane County communities and community officials are mourning the death of former Naperville Mayor George Pradel, who died Tuesday at the age of 80.
“It is with immense sadness that we join our neighbors in Naperville — and all of the communities in our region — in mourning the loss,” Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said in a city of Aurora news release. “Without question, his passing leaves a void in leadership and laughter.”
Pradel was Naperville’s longest-serving mayor, first elected to the position in 1995 and serving for 20 years.
“(He) did so with the utmost class, deepest compassion and sincerest spirit of collaboration,” Irvin said. “He raised the bar time and time again and set a high standard for municipal leadership.”
Visitation has been set for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9 at Naperville City Hall, 400 S. Eagle St., Naperville.
A private funeral service and interment will follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Pradel’s memory may be made to The Arthur Ray Foundation. All donations go to Pradel’s favorite charities.
Pradel died of multiple myeloma, according to media reports, after being admitted several weeks ago to Edward Hospital in Naperville to treat a cancerous tumor that had spread through his body.
Pradel was known as “Officer Friendly” after his decades of service with the Naperville Police Department. His name was synonymous with the community, which name him mayor emeritus after he left the mayor’s office in 2015.
Funeral service dates and times were not immediately available. Kane County Connects will update this article after they are announced.
Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said Pradel was “a cheerleader and champion to all.”
“George Pradel was the kind of community-focused individual that blesses a town once in a lifetime,” he said in a formal statement on the city’s website. “His name will forever be remembered in our city, and when people think of him, they will remember an individual who quietly and humbly gave of himself through his 29 years as a police officer and then for two decades as our longest-serving mayor.
George Pradel’s History
SOURCE: city of Naperville website
The epitome of service to one’s community, Mayor Emeritus A. George Pradel dedicated his life to his beloved Naperville, IL.
Born in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood in 1937, Pradel and his family moved to Naperville two years later and would call the city his home for the rest of his life.
Pradel served as a U.S. Marine from 1956 to 1959 and earned an associate degree in Police Science from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. He served in the Naperville Police Department for over 29 years before retiring from the force as lieutenant of police on April 30, 1995, to become mayor.
Known as “Officer Friendly” to generations of Naperville residents, the hallmark of his term as mayor was pioneering change and growth through teamwork. At five terms of service, Pradel remains the city’s longest serving mayor.
Pradel was best known for his countless public appearances and robust enthusiasm for Naperville. He continued to be the city’s “number one cheerleader” after being named the first Mayor Emeritus in Naperville’s history following the end of his tenure as mayor in 2015.
Throughout the years, Pradel gave tirelessly to not only city government, but local and regional organizations, as well.
A member of the Rotary Club International, Illinois Police Association and Chamber of Commerce, Pradel was the recipient of numerous awards, including from the Rotary Club, Boys Scouts of America, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chamber of Commerce and an Honorary Doctorate from North Central College.
Pradel was perhaps best known for bringing the national Safety Town program to the Naperville community in the 1970s. Now serving over 1,700 students in its summer program each year, generations of Naperville children have learned about pedestrian, bike, fire, water, railroad, bus, animal and personal safety thanks to Pradel’s efforts.
So synonymous was Pradel with Safety Town that the kid-sized building campus on Aurora Avenue was renamed the A. George and Patricia Pradel Safety Town of Naperville in 2015.
Married to his beloved wife Patricia “Pat” Pradel for 55 years before her death in August 2015, Pradel and Pat were parents to three children – George, Carol and Gary – and also raised three foster children – George, Tony and Sue.