Remembering Al DeGeeter, heart of the Naperville Jaycees

Photo of Al DeGeeter
Donate Today

Al DeGeeter was an integral part of the Naperville community, both through his volunteer spirit and his deep roots in the downtown Naperville business district.

Part of a long-time Naperville business 

DeGeeter worked at Dean’s Fine Clothing, a business started by his brother Dean, for more than 50 years. He watched the long-time Naperville store grow over the years, with its ownership eventually changing hands to his nephew, Greg. In 2019, the business marked its 60th year anniversary.

But sales wasn’t his only job. Born in Aurora, Al attended Marmion Military Academy, and would serve as a military policeman in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1965.

 In the late 70’s and early 80’s, he and his wife Margo would open The Hobnail, a restaurant and bar, where the Colonial Café currently stands at 1101 S. Washington St.

Years of service through the Naperville Jaycees

The Naperville community was Al’s passion, and whether he got to know it through his work, or through his many volunteer roles, he was fully invested in it.

Al was a proud member of the Naperville Jaycees since the late 1960’s, and affectionately became known to the group as “The Godfather.”

He served as the group’s president from 1970-71. His daughter Beth would later follow in his footsteps in that role in 2020, something Al took great pride in. It was the first time the Naperville Jaycees had two different family members serve as president. 

Al also received the group’s highest honor, United States JCI Senator, and was bestowed a lifetime membership.

Those who may not have known Al by name might have known him by sight, recognizing him as the fellow in patriotic shorts taking donations for the group each year along the Naperville Labor Day Parade route. He’s immortalized in those very shorts in the Century Walk’s “Naperville Loves a Parade” mural along Rubins Way in downtown Naperville.

Finding other service roles along the way

Al also spent time on the board of Naperville Crime Stoppers, once serving as president for that organization as well. He was also a host greeter at St. Raphael Catholic Church, and served on the Naperville Retail Council, the board of directors for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, and with the Naperville Noon Rotary.

He was a friend to many and friendly to all, known for his “gift of gab.” 

Al died October 8, at the age of 83. He’ll be remembered fondly by his beloved wife of 55 years, Margo, his children Ken and Beth, and his extensive network of family and friends.

Service information.

Visitation will be held at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 44 S. Mill St., on Oct. 16, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A mass of Christian burial will be held Oct. 17, at 11 a.m. at St. Raphael Catholic Church at 1215 Modaff Rd.