Remembering the influential suburbanites we lost in 2022
An iconic businessman who helped put the Northwest suburbs in the national spotlight. A fiercely independent politician who fought for scientific advancement and human rights. A restaurateur whose name is synonymous with the unique fare and atmosphere he offered. A sports broadcasting legend whose knowledge was second only to the loyalty of his audience.
These are among the notable suburbanites who passed in the last year.
As we prepare to turn our calendars from 2022 to 2023, let's take a look back at the influential and memorable people we leave behind.
Former Elk Grove Village Trustee Edward Hauser, pictured with his wife, Rita, in 2012, died Jan. 14 at 93 years old.
- Courtesy of Kim Faehnrich
A longtime public servant, Hauser was credited with helping to create the Elk Grove Park District and then taking a key role in shaping Elk Grove Village through his work on its zoning board of appeals, board of health, plan commission and village board. "He never gave up, never stopped serving and never stopped giving to this community," Mayor Craig Johnson said of Hauser. He died Jan. 14 at the age of 93.
- Courtesy of 670 The Score
A standout personality on the Chicago airwaves for more than five decades, the Elk Grove Village resident was a one-of-a-kind, whose encyclopedic knowledge of sports and tireless enthusiasm won him a loyal following among night owls on his overnight shift. Known as The Grobber, he was perhaps most famous for recording Lee Elia's profanity-laced 1983 tirade against Cubs fans.
Grobstein died Jan. 16. He was 69.
Richard L. Duchossois
A decorated World War II hero, renowned businessman and noted philanthropist, Duchossois died Jan. 28 at his Barrington Hills home. He was 100. "Mr. D" was best known as the longtime owner of Arlington Park, the suburban jewel that brought the world's best race horses to the Northwest suburbs. After serving under Gen. George Patton during World War II, Duchossois returned to his native Chicago and built a business empire. But among his many holdings, Arlington Park was the crown jewel. After a 1985 fire destroyed the old grandstand, Duchossois rebuilt the facility into one widely acclaimed as the finest on American soil. Duchossois' 100th birthday came 12 days after the final race at the track, which now is being sold to the Chicago Bears.
The mayor of Prospect Heights, Helmer died Jan. 26 in the midst of his third term as mayor. A real estate professional, Helmer used his business background to bring a renewed emphasis on economic development to the city, which had long dealt with financial struggles before he took office in 2011. A licensed pilot, Helmer also served as the city's representative to the Chicago Executive Airport board. He was 79.
Barbara E. Richardson
- Daily Herald File Photo
In her more than two decades as Lake County coroner, Richardson aimed to care for the living as much as she did the deceased. She spent much of her time being a shoulder for people to cry on and offered a warm hug at a sorrowful time in their lives. "We're not here just to take care of dead people," she told the Daily Herald near her retirement in 2003. "We're here to keep people alive." Richardson died Feb. 2. She was 93.
- Courtesy of Julia Robinson
Known as a legacy builder, Silverman was influential in Arlington Heights business circles as well as in nonprofit and charitable organizations. He founded First Northwest Bank, served as president of the Rotary Club of Arlington Heights and the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and was recognized for his business leadership at the 2007 Arlington Heights Hearts of Gold dinner. Silverman died March 13. He was 84.
A former high school teacher, Skowron served Mount Prospect as a village trustee for 11 years, as well as a member of the Mount Prospect Elementary District 57 school board and the village's board of fire and police commissioners. "When you think about her level of public service over the years and you start adding up all the time that she gave to this community, it is just an incredible record of service to a town she loves," Mayor Paul Hoefert said shortly after her passing. Skowron died April 7. She was 93.
JOE LEWNARDemail@example.com, 2012Bob Chinn
Already a successful businessman, Chinn launched his iconic Bob Chinn's Crab House in 1982 along Wheeling's Restaurant Row. It quickly became one of the go-to spots for seafood in the suburbs, beloved by patrons not just for its cuisine and famous mai tais, but for its fun, easygoing atmosphere. At one point, it was named the highest-grossing restaurant in the U.S. Chinn died April 15. He was 99.
The Rev. Jeffrey Deardorff, shown here with his wife, Rose.
- Courtesy of Journeys: the Road Home
The Rev. Jeffrey Deardorff
One of the early champions of the homeless and marginalized in the Northwest suburbs, Deardorff worked tirelessly to provide not only shelter, but also the tools and resources at-risk families needed to move forward. He served behind the scenes with such organizations as the Hope Center -- now Journeys: The Road Home in Palatine -- as well as FamilyForward, formerly known as Faith Community Homes in Arlington Heights. Deardorff died April 24. He was 72.
Former Congressman John Porter
John E. Porter
The Republican congressman set a moderate tone for his North suburban district that lives on today. A staunch advocate for scientific advancement -- the National Institutes of Health's Neuroscience Research Center is named in his honor -- Porter was a fiscal conservative who advocated for human rights causes across the globe and backed efforts to protect the environment. He also served as a mentor to future generations of moderates, including future Congressman and Sen. Mark Kirk. Porter died June 3. He was 87.
John "Moon" Mullin
- Courtesy of Carolyn Timberlake
Affectionately known as "Moon," the acclaimed sports writer brought fans of the Chicago Bears an inside peek into the locker room few of his peers could match. Mullin joined the Daily Herald as a business writer in 1989, but soon moved over to sports, where he made his mark with readers and won the respect of players, coaches and his fellow beat writers. Mullin died June 19 after a valiant battle with cancer. He was 74.
The former longtime superintendent of Barrington Community Unit School District 220, Slocum was remembered for combining a zest for life with a mastery of school administration. As the district's top administrator from 1979 to 1992, he oversaw substantial growth in enrollment and facilities. After retiring, he worked for international and defense department school accrediting agencies, taking trips to Pakistan, Africa and the Middle East. Slocum died July 3. He was 92.
Michael J. Haley
The longtime Antioch resident and former mayor died Aug. 13. A champion of the community. Haley served 12 years in different roles with local government as trustee, mayor and administrator. He was a no-nonsense manager with a soft spot for the town he called home from an early age. Among Haley's significant achievements are a full-scale recreation of the historic Hiram Buttrick Sawmill as a bicentennial project in 1976 and beautification of downtown Antioch in the 1980s He was 79.
Georgios and Georgene Avgeris
- Courtesy of Uptown Cafe
Georgios and Georgene Avgeris
For more than three decades, the couple dished out tasty and filling fare to loyal customers at the Uptown Cafe in Arlington Heights, serving everything from eggs and bacon to waffles, pancakes and crepes. It wasn't just the restaurant's food, but the couple's hospitality that kept diners coming back time and again. Georgios died Sept. 2, at 64 years old. Georgene, his wife of more than 40 years, died three days later. She was 63.
Walter E. Smithe Jr.
- Daily Herald File Photo
Walter E. Smithe
The patriarch of the family behind the namesake furniture store, Smithe helped turn a small family business on the Northwest Side of Chicago into a successful chain of stores with locations across the suburbs, as well as Indiana and Florida. Credited with pioneering the concept of custom-upholstered furniture in the Chicago area, Smithe recognized the suburbs as a growth area for the business and helped create its famous slogan "You dream it, we build it!" Smithe died Oct. 9. He was 86.
Frank J. Morgan
Frank J. Morgan
A longtime businessman who helped make Gatorade an iconic beverage, Morgan served seven years as president and COO of Quaker Oats. He was part of the team that acquired Stokely-Van Camp, Gatorade's initial maker, for $226 million. After retiring from Quaker in 1990, Morgan served on the nonprofit boards of Glenwood Academy, Loyola University, St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana and Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington. The Barrington resident died Oct. 15 at 97 years old.
Bob Fisher, with former Gov. James Thompson and Thompson's wife, Jayne.
- Courtesy of Linda Fisher
The quintessential "guy behind the guy," Mount Prospect resident Fisher protected presidents, governors and celebrities during his long tenure with the Illinois State Police. He was bodyguard to governors Richard Ogilvie, Dan Walker, James Thompson and Jim Edgar, and was assigned to presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush when they visited Illinois. Among the famous he protected were Muhammed Ali, Henry Kissinger, Golda Meir, Bob Hope and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. Fisher died Oct. 16. He was 76.
- Daily Herald File Photo
For more than two decades, Gorski kept Rolling Meadows residents informed of the happenings in their community and served as an advocate for girls sports through the pages of the Daily Herald. Gorski began working for the Daily Herald in 1982, and over the next 24 years, she covered high school girls cross country and track, while also penning a neighborhood column focusing on Rolling Meadows. "I think it was just a keen understanding of community," her son, Eric Gorski, said of his mother's dedication to telling stories about Rolling Meadows and its residents. Gorski died Oct. 20 at 82 years old.
Gossett's legacy as a caring educator with a passion for learning was evident during his 33-year career at Libertyville High School and Libertyville-Vernon Hills High School District 128. He spent the last 18 of those years as the district's superintendent before retiring in 1998. He led the district during eight referendums, the last of which allowed the district to borrow $48.5 million to build Vernon Hills High School and make major renovations at Libertyville High. He died Oct. 27 at 83 years old.
William J. Kunkle Jr. was an assistant Cook County state's attorney when he was chosen to prosecute John Wayne Gacy.
- Chicago Sun-Times File Photo
William J. Kunkle Jr.
As the prosecutor who secured the conviction and death penalty for serial killer John Wayne Gacy, William J. Kunkle Jr. could have coasted on the celebrity of the case for the rest of his career. Instead, he used the experience to travel the country and teach others about the trial and its legal peculiarities. Kunkle, who died Nov. 18 at 81 years old, also served as special prosecutor in the case of the "DuPage 7," the seven law officers accused and later acquitted of falsifying evidence to convict Rolando Cruz in the 1983 kidnapping, rape and murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico in Naperville Township.
A dedicated public servant who wore his love for Schaumburg on his sleeve, Kozak died Dec. 2 at age 78. Kozak served on Schaumburg's plan commission from 1983 until 2009, when he was elected to the village board. He served in that role until his death. An electrician by trade, Kozak also helped lead local and state Jaycees organizations, assisted with the Schaumburg Athletic Association and Schaumburg High School's VIP program, and volunteered for Misericordia.