Former Winfield Township trustee remembered as good steward of taxpayers' money
Former Winfield Township Trustee Gerald E. "Jerry" Ruzicka, who died at age 81, is remembered for looking out for taxpayers' interests. The longtime Warrenville resident's death on Oct. 11 was heart-related, according to family members.
Ruzicka succeeded his father, Ed Ruzicka, as a Winfield Township trustee in 1994. He would hold onto the office for 23 years until the spring of 2017.
"I can't say enough good things about Jerry. He was a good guy," said Winfield Township Assessor Mark Malay. "He was very conservative, and really looked out for the taxpayer."
Ruzicka was also known for working at the family business, Ruzicka Drugs, in multiple capacities ranging from stuffing newspapers to serving customers as an apprentice pharmacist. The downtown Warrenville store was a fixture from 1945 to 1981.
Ruzicka was also a 1st lieutenant in the Air Force. He then worked in sales for Towne-Paulson Pharmaceutical Co. and Posner Medical Co. and as vice president of Medicare Equipment Services.
But according to one of Ruzicka's three daughters, Thia Tollas, he lived for sports, and "baseball was his passion."
Tollas said her father excelled as a local baseball player in his youth and was a lifelong Cubs fan. Ruzicka also coached girls softball for many years.
"Since he had three girls, it had to be softball," Tollas said. "If I gave him the name of a girl he coached in Warrenville, he could probably tell me if she batted right-handed or left-handed, what position she played, what her strengths were -- he could remember all those things."
In his later years, Ruzicka was a regular player in Naperville's senior softball league. In retirement, Ruzicka also worked as an usher for the Kane County Cougars.
Ruzicka is survived by his wife, Cynthia Gould Ruzicka, three daughters and eight grandchildren. Two sisters and a brother also survive him.
Ruzicka was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Richard Ruzicka, of St. Petersburg, Florida.
The family is organizing a memorial service.
"He loved his family and he was an amazing, amazing person," Tollas said. "He will be sorely missed."