Naperville’s longest serving Mayor, A. George Pradel, was in office for five terms, spanning 20 years. During that time, he became known for his positive spirit, even-tempered governing and enthusiastic speaking.
“I wanted people to hear me when I was out in the public so I would yell loud and I got used to it and people got used to it too” said Mayor Emeritus A. George Pradel.
Although he is no longer the official Mayor, Pradel is still a goodwill ambassador for the city, being named ‘Mayor Emeritus’ shortly after leaving office.
“That is so heartwarming to still be a part of the group by being Mayor Emeritus, and Mayor Chirico has graciously told people both of us are mayors,” said Pradel.
While serving as Mayor Emeritus, Pradel continues to represent the city at functions throughout town.
But the past year and a half has not been without hardship. His beloved wife Pat died in August 2015 after a long battle with cancer. And Mayor Emeritus Pradel was diagnosed with the disease himself this summer.
In his typical fashion, he faced the disease head on, quickly receiving treatment.
“My health is a lot better thanks to all the people who’ve kept me in their prayers and in their thoughts. In my sickness I just wanted to get to a point where I could walk again, and now I’ve gone through the process of being in a wheelchair, to being in a walker and then a four-legged cane and now a single cane,” said Pradel.
To help raise his spirits during chemo, the Downtown Naperville Alliance put a mailbox Downtown, giving all of Naperville a chance to send him well wishes.
“People wrote lots of things that they wouldn’t write in a regular card. ‘We’re praying for you, you’re in our thoughts.’ It just warmed my heart. I saved them and I read them,” said Pradel.
A heart full of love and pride for the community he helped shape.
“I just hope Naperville continues to be a friendly town and the safest town of its size in America and that people stick together,” said Pradel.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.
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