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Naperville
Sunday, March 3, 2024

Farmer, butcher, service station owner, city commissioner and mayor

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Alexander James Grush was born July 14, 1869, in Polo, Ogle County, Illinois, the son of John B. Grush and Mary Jane Tennis.

Alexander married Ida Birdellen Toms November 9, 1893, in Ogle County, Illinois. They were the parents of three children, Vernon Charles, Byron Edward, and Shirley Beatrice. Shirley married Homer Herbert Boelter.

First employed on the family farm and continuing in that profession until about 1900, Alexander then became a butcher while living in Ogle County and Sycamore, Illinois. He moved with his family to Naperville in April of 1904 where he had purchased a meat market located at 23 Jefferson Avenue and continued in that business until about 1925.

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Alexander then opened an automobile service station at 309 N. Washington Street, the future location of the Moser Lumber Company that is now the DuPage Children’s Museum. The company was named the Grush Oil Company.

Alexander served Naperville as a City Commissioner from 1919 to 1921, was appointed as Mayor in 1923 to serve the unexpired term of Charles Bowman, and was elected and served as Mayor from 1931 to 1935.

On June 27, 1934, he formally laid the cornerstone of the Naperville Centennial Beach Bath House in which was sealed a copper time capsule.

Alexander, as Mayor, rejected funding from the Federal Public Works Administration, and employed only Naperville residents in the construction of the Bath House.

He was a member of Euclid Lodge No. 65, A.F. & A.M. and Euclid Chapter No. 13, R.A.M.

Alexander James Grush died April 1, 1945, at the Copley Hospital in Aurora, Kane County, Illinois. Rev. Wesley M. Westerberg at the Methodist Church conducted funeral services, and Alexander was buried in the Naperville Cemetery with the members of Euclid Lodge No. 65 performing the simple Masonic Funeral Ceremony at the grave.

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Tim Ory
Tim Ory
Tim Ory is a fifth-generation Naperville native, descended from Francois Sebastien Ory, who immigrated to America from Alsace Lorraine, France, in 1844. Signing off as "Tim Ory, Historian, Euclid Lodge No. 65 Ancient Free & Accepted Masons," Tim adds that he continues to research the History of the Masonic Lodge and Naperville every day. Contact him at tjory@sbcglobal.net.

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