Though there was much to celebrate this year, there were also some losses of note. Our town said goodbye to four people who helped build Naperville into the community it is today.
Dr. Robert Reshke was a visionary. When he came to Naperville in 1954, there was no hospital in town so he partnered with two local judges to help convince the board of the old Edward TB Sanatorium that it should be converted into an acute care community hospital, now Edward.
His legacy includes not just that building, but the thousands of patients he treated as a family medicine practitioner. As a volunteer physician for North Central High School football games, and the physician for North Central College for 25 years, his reach extended throughout the community, and into the hearts of many. He died in January at the age of 92.
There’s little in Naperville that Cliff Preston didn’t have a hand in. He came to town in 1952, and instantly started making a difference, helping launch the Jaycees and the Wiseman Club at the Y.
But the project most associated with Cliff is the crown jewel of Naperville itself, the Riverwalk. He lent both his voice and his very capable hands to the project, serving as chairman of the Riverwalk Commission for 17 years. His handiwork can also be seen in Fredenhagen Park and throughout Naper Settlement, and will be appreciated for generations to come.
Cliff died this June at the age of 90.
Peg Yonker helped make Naperville’s history. Coming to town in 1959, she was an active community volunteer, supporter and leader. But it was as a member and director of the Naperville Heritage Society that she really made her mark, helping accomplish both the rehab of the Meeting House, and the replica of the Pre-Emption House, Naperville’s first hotel. She would often experience the town’s history firsthand, by her portrayals of notable Naperville women of the past like Almeda Naper and Hannah Ditzler.
Peg died in November, at the age of 93.
Jean Knoch Wehrli had deep roots in Naperville, as part of two families integral to our town. She made quite an impact of her own, not just here in Naperville as part of the Arts Commission and Park District Committee, but also through the students she taught throughout the years, and the seven children of her own, in whom she instilled the importance of community involvement.
Jean died this month, at the age of 88.
Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc reports.
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