Remembering Naperville’s Dan Casey

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If you’re a Naperville resident, there’s a good chance you know Naperville’s Dan Casey. The former owner of Casey’s Foods secured his spot in the community with a reputation for quality service and character.

Casey’s impact on the Naperville community

Casey was always looking to make Naperville better, as he rolled up his sleeves to pitch in with a number of local groups. He served in many roles for many organizations, including;

  • Little Friends
  • West Suburban Irish
  • The Naperville Sunrise Rotary
  • Naperville Chamber Of Commerce
  • Naperville Heritage Society
  • Naperville Development Partnership
  • And plenty more…

But the people who knew him best will tell you his personality and desire to connect with people is what made him so special.

“Dan was just one of those guys. He loved life and loved the people in it. And he was somebody that if you were around him, he wanted you to feel special and he could do that in lots of different ways,” said Casey’s friend, Ray Kinney.

Casey’s Foods and how it started

Casey started his career in the grocery world as an apprentice clean-up meat cutter at his father and uncle’s store, ‘Mike’s Meat Market’ in Villa Park. Casey moved on to Casey’s Meat Market in Western Springs in 1980, before starting his own store in 1991: Naperville’s Casey’s Foods.

Casey ran the market until 2019 when he sold it to Kris Visher. She knew the shop well, having spent many years working alongside Casey

“It’s nice to be a whole person,” said Visher. “And I think that’s what Dan brought to this business establishment. Certainly from an employee perspective, he validated every employee as a whole person. You know, he was very compassionate and there for everybody. And that was a natural entrée into who he was and what he brought to the Naperville community.”

Among the community, perhaps Casey’s biggest involvement was with Little Friends. He was the first recipient of its Dottee Krejci Memorial Award for Distinguished Service in 2018, noted for giving “time, talents and treasure” for helping shape the organization.

Naperville’s Dan Casey: The connector of friendships

And he made countless friends along the way. Kinney said Casey knew how to have a good time, and on occasion, the two would enjoy a pint of Guinness. Some nights they, along with others, would pick up some midnight snacks at the market.

“I can remember on more than one occasion that group would be out [in] downtown Naperville having some cocktails and somebody says, ‘God, I’m hungry’ and we’d do a midnight raid to Casey’s, which I got to do a couple of times, which probably going to be some of my favorite memories of Dan pushing me through Casey’s in a grocery cart.” 

Casey was easy to talk to. The 1973 Benet Academy graduate had circle upon circle of friend groups and loved when they overlapped. In fact, he was known for bringing people together, forming new friendships.

Kinney says the best way you can remember Dan, is to do an anonymous good deed.

“There were a lot of things that Dan did that people didn’t know about and that’s the part that is wonderful. You know, some quiet donations he did, some things he did to take care of a family in need or those type of things. That was just Dan.”

Naperville’s Dan Casey, age 67, passed away surrounded by his family on Thursday, Jan 19, 2023.

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