Naperville Remembers Those Who Have Gone Before

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As the year comes to a close, it’s a time of reflection and remembering who Naperville has lost in the past year.

This is an incomplete list but an offering to remember a few Napervillians who have left us this year. It’s an opportunity to learn about them and to give a silent nod to all families who have lost a loved one this past year. 

The following stories are an edited version of the person’s obituary found on Beidleman-Kunsch, Friedrich Jones Funeral Homes, and Crematory websites. 


Mary B. Abe

Mary was a fourth-generation Napervillian. She attended Ellsworth School, Naperville Community High School, and North Central College (‘52) where she met her late husband, William “Bill” J. Abe. 

Mary enjoyed her involvement at Grace United Methodist Church, which she was a member of for over 65 years. Yet she will be remembered most for her friendships, and the care she gave to them and her family over the years. Mary was 92 years old.

LaVerne R. Boddy

LaVerne was a longtime resident of the Saybrook neighborhood in Naperville for over 50 years

LaVerne was also a founding member of Saybrook Bath and Racquet Club in Naperville. She was an avid golfer and a longtime member of Naperville Country Club. LaVerne enjoyed watching and participating in sports and was an accomplished bridge player, achieving Life Master status.

She was the beloved wife of 60 years to the late Leland D. Boddy, whom she married in 1961. LaVerne was 83 years old. 

Joan M. Brummel

A lifelong resident of Naperville, Joan was the beloved wife of the late Elmer W. Brummel, whom she married on April 4, 1945, at SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Naperville. 

Joan grew up in Naperville, attending SS. Peter & Paul Grade School and graduating with the Class of 1942 at Naperville High School. Before starting her large family, Joan worked for Kraft Foods in Chicago and Les Brown Toy Factory in Naperville. 

A loving and devoted homemaker, Joan was also employed by Kroehler Manufacturing Company, Tasty Bakery, and the North Central College Student Union, all in Naperville.

Joan, along with her late husband, Elmer, resided at St. Patrick’s Residence in Naperville for her last years and made many friends among the Carmelite Sisters, staff, residents, and their family members.  Joan was 97 years old.

Arthur Daniels

Art spent his later years in Naperville at the Springs of Monarch Landing.

He was the cherished husband of Rose Anne Daniels (nee Pellicane) of 75 years, married on November 30, 1946. 

Art was a proud veteran. He was drafted into the Army in 1941 and awarded three battle stars for serving 36 months in the Southwest Pacific. His service was honored during game one of the 2016 Chicago Cubs League Championship Series and during an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

He and Rose retired to Florida for more than 20 years before moving back to Illinois to be close to family in 2012. Art was an avid golfer and loved spending his free time swimming and watching sports. Art was 98 years old.

Ruth Fawell

Ruth Fawell was an educator, civic leader, and wife of former Congressman, Harris Fawell.

Ruth graduated from North Central College in Naperville, with a B.A. in English in 1952. She would later gain a master’s in education at the National College of Education. 

It was at North Central that she met her future husband, Harris Fawell. They were married in 1952 and marked their 69th wedding anniversary before his death in November of 2021.

Ruth was a notable educator in Naperville. She taught at several elementary schools before becoming a curriculum Resource Specialist for Naperville School District 203 and a Project Idea teacher in Scott School’s gifted program, a program she helped start. She was a charter trustee of the Naperville Educational Foundation and served as its chairman for two years. She was given a Community Award by the Illinois Association of School Administrators in recognition of her community service in 1997.

Ruth was a community leader in Naperville. She was a founding member of the Naperville Riverwalk Foundation, as well as its president in 2000. Ruth was awarded a North Central College Outstanding Alumnus award in 1997 for her professional achievement and service to the community and North Central College.  Ruth was 92 years old.

Walter “Ted” Fredenhagen Jr.

A notable Napervillian,  Walter (Ted) Fredenhagen, Jr. grew up in Naperville and attended North Central College after serving in the Marine Corps for three years during World War II.

Ted worked in the family business, Prince Castle Ice Cream Corporation. The company would be “first” in what is now the fast food industry.  In 1955, the company changed its name to “Cock Robin”  and expanded to 25 stores in the Chicagoland area.  Fredenhagen Park marks the location of the ice cream factory, Frozen Gold, and the first ice cream shop. 

From the time he was a child Ted loved and excelled at music. In his later years, he formed a 19-piece big band group, called Class Act II which often performed on Saturday afternoons in Naperville. Ted was honored to serve as a bugler with the Amboy Honor Guard at funerals for many local veterans. Ted was 97 years old.

Ruth L Hageman

Ruth was a resident of Naperville and a member of a long-time farming family. She was the cherished wife of Wilbert Hageman, wed for 73 years. 

Ruth was a 1947 graduate of Naperville Community High School. She cherished time with family and friends. She enjoyed her years of volunteering with the DuPage County Fair, chairing the Fair Queen Pageant, and participating in the Ag in the Classroom program with the DuPage County Farm Bureau. 

Ruth was a contributor to the Naperville Area Farm Families History book, and along with Wilbert, worked with the Naper Settlement in the creation of an Agricultural Center honoring the Farming Roots of Naperville.  She was 93 years old.

Dr. Michael H. “Dr. Mike” Litow

Dr. Michael H. “Dr. Mike” Litow was a longtime child advocate.  Dr. Mike grew up on Chicago’s North Side. He attended the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida on a baseball scholarship and graduated with a degree in Education. Dr. Mike later earned a Doctorate degree from Loyola University in Chicago.

He began his career as an educator and counselor. In 1979, Dr. Mike founded the nationally acclaimed Education Center, headquartered in Naperville, Illinois. The Education Center is a counseling and referral center that provides a nontraditional form of counseling — life coaching — that helps children and teens gain self-confidence, independence, and skills to last a lifetime. Dr. Mike was 76 years old. 

Jean R. McCollum

In 1987, as the age of cable television, was just beginning, Naperville Community Television, Channel 17 offered a unique opportunity to residents to be involved with local television programming. Jean McCollum was one of the first to sign on for that chance, learning to operate a studio camera and becoming a volunteer operator on many different shows. In August 1990, she was named Community Producer of the month. 

Jean was also a registered dietician in the state of Illinois. For 34 years, Jean held various positions within the Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging. She was awarded the Governor’s Unique Achievement Award in 1991.

She also was an active member of the League of Women Voters in Indiana and Illinois, serving as Vice President of the Naperville chapter in 1988-89.  Jean was 94 years old. 

Joseph Edward “Joe” Modaff

Joe grew up on the Modaff family farm located in Naperville. He attended high school at Naperville Community High School (now Naperville Central High School) and received his bachelor’s degree from North Central College in Naperville before joining the U.S. Marine Corps. Joe married Marjory Batterton.

He offered this advice to many,  “You have to be able to walk in all circles, people are people.” He traveled extensively and always enjoyed meeting new people, but nothing made him happier and prouder than coming home to Naperville. He loved his community.  Joe was 83 years old.

Noreen F. Mysyk

Noreen was a longtime resident of Naperville.  She was a proud graduate of Loyola University where she earned a master’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Human Resources. Noreen went on to earn her Doctorate in Education from Northern Illinois University. Noreen was a longtime professor at North Central College, Naperville, Elmhurst College, and the University of St. Francis, Joliet.

A longtime parishioner of St. Raphael Church, Noreen was a member of the grief support ministry. She was very generous with her time and talents and treasured being with her family and friends. She also enjoyed cheering on her favorite team, the Chicago Blackhawks. Noreen was 76.

James D. Polivka

James was raised by Dorothy and George Polivka in their home on the Willow Farm Dairy.

While attending college, James received a call that his father had passed away, and returned to help his mother with the dairy business. James took on his father’s independent milk delivery route in Naperville, under the name Willoway Farm and expanded its distribution to 16 routes before he and his mother sold their dairy interest in 1960.

In 1958, James was invited to serve on the Bank of Naperville Board of Directors and was then the youngest bank director in the state. His group went on to found nine banks in the Chicago area, James serving on the board of directors for each.

In 1960, the Wil-O-Way homestead in Naperville was converted to a fine dining establishment by James and his brother Judd and named Willoway Manor. 

It is currently the Meson Sabika restaurant.

James was married to Nancy Moulton for 70 years and was 93 years old.

Jon A. Ripsky Sr.

Jon A. Ripsky, Sr. was a longtime Naperville Police Officer and a lifelong resident of Naperville.

Jon attended Naper Elementary School, Washington Junior High School, and Naperville Community High School before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1957. He proudly served his country and was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1961. Upon returning to Naperville, he joined the Naperville Police Department (NPD).

A second-generation Naperville Police Officer, Jon served 43 years with the Naperville Police Department, rising through the ranks until his retirement as a Captain on November 21, 2003. He served in all units of the police department during his career including serving as a division commander at different times in all three divisions. Jon also served for two years on the first DuPage County Narcotics Task Force.

Jon was a founding member and past president of the Naperville Sunrise Rotary. He was 83

Gary Edward Smith

Gary was a 36-year resident of Naperville

When Gary was a child, his father was a chief in the Navy stationed at the submarine base at Pearl Harbor. A talented swimmer, Gary competed for the Hawaii Swim Club and in 1964 broke the U.S. record for his age group in the 200-meter butterfly.

Gary was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1968 by Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, graduating in 1972 with a degree in systems management and competing for four years on the varsity swim team. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. During Operation Frequent Wind in April 1975, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Mobile during the evacuation of Vietnam. 

An avid traveler, Gary was a devoted family man who served as a cheerleader to his three children and his wife, former city council member Judy Brodhead. He served as her campaign manager and had a hand in other political campaigns as well. He did much good in the community on his own, volunteering at Loaves & Fishes.

Gary was honored in November 2021 by the Rotary Club of Naperville when he was awarded a Quilt of Valor.  Gary was 72 years old. 


NCTV17 Staff

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