Above / With a song in his heart, Mayor Emeritus George Pradel always enjoys Singing for Seniors and opportunities to harmonize with the Naperville Men’s Glee Club. In the spirit of the season, Martha Young suggests sharing a random act of kindness on behalf of the former mayor.

And it just seems appropriate to post these recent Greetings to PN that will appear in print in the December issue on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. (PN File Photo 2015)

Dear PN,


For more than 50 years, George Pradel has enjoyed helping when Santa visits local youngsters.

When we moved to Naperville in 1962, my two children were small. One of my neighbors played Santa. So I hired him to come be Santa to my two. I was to purchase a Christmas book and leave it outside. Then Santa would bring it in, put one child on one knee and one on the other, and read the picture book to them. Both of the kids were wide-eyed and sort of afraid of Santa. But then, before they got off his knee, Santa asked them to give him a kiss on the cheek.

Cindi backed away and eyed him very suspiciously, looking at all of those whiskers, and said to my Mother, “Gramma, you kiss him for me!”

And the rest of the story is that Santa became our beloved mayor, George Pradel.

—Bev Frier

Dear PN,

MAYOR GEORGE PRADEL and BILL YOUNG at the 2002 Jaycees Easter Egg Hunt.

Mayor George Pradel and Bill Young met thousands of kids during the 2012 Jaycees Easter Egg Hunt.

Martha Young (Bill Young’s wife) recently shared a wonderful idea to honor the many acts of kindness that Mayor Emeritus Pradel continues to be known for throughout our wonderful community.  Her vision is to ask everyone in Naperville to do a kindness in honor of our former Mayor. She didn’t specify a day – so this idea seems a perfect way to celebrate the holiday season and honor our Mayor Emeritus at the same time.  Martha would like Naperville to be known as the “City of Kindness” – which is a perfect match for Positively Naperville’s long-time theme of spreading “Kindness in Naperville.”

So, in the spirit of this wonderful season, could you please share this idea?

Here’s a poem I jotted down on my flight back from CA in the wee hours of last night after a wonderful Thanksgiving with our kids — so it’s in need of editing — but I hope it captures the essence of what Martha has shared.

Celebrating the Gift of Mayor Emeritus Pradel & His Gift of Kindness! 


Always the cheerleader, George Pradel likely has more “spirit” wear than anyone in town!

What better way to honor a Mayor

Who’s showed us all his incomparable Care,

Then by passing on this Gift that shows

How much his seeds of kindness grow?

So join us now throughout December

With Acts of Kindness as we remember,

This Gentleman who’s shared his heart

It’s time for us to do our part!

So share his Joy – and post it here

Your acts of kindness he will cheer,

And most of all we’ll honor a Mayor

Who’s showed us all his incomparable Care!


Thanks so very much for your help in being our Community Connector, PN!

—IdaLynn Wenhold, KidsMatter

Editor’s Reply: Thanks for thinking of PN, IdaLynn! At the bottom of this post page is a comments section where folks can “leave a reply” and share their acts of kindness in honor of Mayor Emeritus Pradel if they wish to do so. We also recognize that many acts of kindness are accomplished anonymously every day in this community, so folks are welcome simply to write holiday greetings with good cheer, too. We’ll be sure Mayor Pradel receives them. God bless us every one.

Editor’s Note: On May 13, 2016, Mayor Emeritus George Pradel, now age 79, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that affects the immune system, the bones and blood. He has been receiving treatment ever since that zaps his energy. Prior to being elected mayor in 1995 and serving five 4-year terms, Pradel served the Naperville Police Department for 29 years where he was known as Officer Friendly.

During a conversation with the former Mayor on Nov. 29, he was looking forward to going outside for a walk on this sunny day with his daughter. He also reminisced about his progress and the good health report he received from his heart doctor when he visited Edward. And he added, “Every time I visit the hospital, I run to the desk of volunteers. I stop by and say ‘thank you’ to all of them. Our city is so blessed with so many volunteers.”

Pradel Garden at Meson Sabika

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Kindness in Naperville: A grassroots community movement to promote good-natured civility

If the only prayer you said in your whole life were “thank you,” that would be enough.                Meister Eckhart, German Philosopher (1260-1328)