Mayor Emeritus A. George Pradel shared his smile, friendship and good nature with residents everywhere…
At age 80, on Sept. 4, 2018, the former Mayor of Naperville (1995-2015) and U.S. Marine Corps veteran died after a two-year battle with cancer. Pradel was born Sept. 5, 1937, in Chicago. His family moved to Naperville in 1939.
George Pradel grew up in Naperville and worked 29 years for the Naperville Police Department, retiring as a sergeant, known as “Officer Friendly” for his dedication to local youth and Safety Town.
At the time of his death, his three children, George, Carol and Gary, were by his side where he was receiving hospice care.
In 2004, when the Mayor was hot, he was hot!
And on behalf of Joe Naper, Ray Kinney created and ordered hundreds of collectible Mayor Pradel Bobbleheads that sold like hot cakes for worthy causes in local gift shops one holiday season.
The bobblehead declares Mayor Pradel to be “Naperville’s #1 Cheerleader.” And the stash of bobbleheads still turn up randomly at local charity auctions, some personally autographed by the grateful public servant.
Pradel rounded out his jovial image by portraying Santa Claus every Christmas during downtown Naperville hometown holiday events and the Little Friends Parade of Lights. Whenever an event was held in Naperville, folks could count on Pradel to make the season bright.
Local artist and caricaturist Jim Weren created a series of cartoons that were published from 2004 through 2005 in PN. Many of Weren’s cartoons featured the fun-loving mayor.
In 2005 Naperville residents bombarded a local radio station with votes to elect Mayor Pradel, then 69, as the people’s choice in a contest for the “Hottest Mayor in the Suburbs.” (See top cartoon.)
Known always for lending a hand and his warm welcome, Weren drew Mayor Pradel’s likeness to help promote all kinds of charitable fundraising events such as the Naperville Noon Lions Club Turkey Trot 5K and the Rotary Sunrise Beaux Arts Ball.
With so many photos and memories that illustrate a wonderful life of service, former PN contributing poet, Pastor Greg Asimakoupoulos, touched base today with his latest work.
A Poetic Tribute to Mayor Pradel
Yes, Safety Town is grieving
but it’s not just kids who cry.
All who loved our former mayor are in shock.
Mr. Naperville befriended
everyone he ever met
in the schools, downtown or on the Riverwalk.
George epitomized our city.
He exuded friendly pride.
And his vision of a tiny town for tots
was a dream come true for thousands.
Safety Town is most unique.
It’s a place where basic rules and laws are taught.
This retired cop was awesome.
He took time to feel our pain.
As an ex-Marine he lived out Semper Fi.
George was simply “always faithful”
to the promises he made.
“Let George do it!” was his effervescent cry.
Mr. Pradel loved my family.
He took interest in my world.
And though short, he was a giant in my life.
I admired his convictions
and the faith that shaped his goals.
I was humbled by the way he served his wife.
So here’s to Mayor Pradel
and the legacy he leaves.
May his memory be blessed with lasting peace.
May the values that he modeled
make our world a better place
and give confidence to how we view police.
by Pastor Greg Asimakoupoulos
former Naperville resident
Visitation for Mayor A. George Pradel / 10AM-6PM Sept. 8 & 9 at City Hall
Times for visitation for Mayor A. George Pradel will be 10AM to 6PM Sat., September 8 and Sun., September 9, 2018, at Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St., Naperville, IL 60540.
Funeral services will be private.
Private interment: Naperville Cemetery, Naperville.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Mayor Pradel’s memory may be made to: The Arthur Ray Foundation, 902 Sumter Ct., Naperville, IL 60540, (630) 729-3182, www.arthurray.org.
The Arthur Ray Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The ongoing goal of the Arthur Ray Foundation is to help organizations like Safety Town of Naperville, Naperville Responds for our Veterans, Little Friends, Inc., and many others that help children and adults using art and technology. All donated funds will be distributed to Mayor Pradel’s favorite local charities.
Arrangements are being made by Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 44 S. Mill St., Naperville.