Remembering Riverwalk Builders Hal Dickson and Chuck Papanos

remembering hal and chuck riverwalk
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Former Naperville Riverwalk builders Hal Dickson and Chuck Papanos have died. Both spent decades working on the Riverwalk.

Dickson was a U.S. Navy veteran, having served during WWII as a torpedoman and an active member of the Naperville community. Dickson participated in the Rotary Club, volunteered for roles with the City of Naperville and played a major role in the design, planning and construction of the Riverwalk.

As a general contractor following a career working for the Pillsbury Company in Minnesota and managing the Wilton Plant in Woodridge, Dickson was awarded the contract to construct the Naperville Riverwalk. Dickson served in that role for decades, fine tuning what’s known as Naperville’s “crown jewel” until his retirement.

Papanos worked for the Naperville Park District as the North Parks and Riverwalk Operations Manager for 19 years prior to his retirement in 2020. Prior to working for the park district, Papanos had a landscape nursery and owned a small Christmas tree farm.

Like Dickson, Papanos had a long history with the Naperville Riverwalk, dating back beyond his years at the park district. Papanos’ nursery provided many of the trees and shrubs for the Riverwalk’s unveiling in 1981.

Dickson died July 28 at the age of 94 and is survived by his three children, Daniel, Pamela and Lisa. Papanos died July 29 after a three year battle with cancer and is survived by his wife, Ann Marie. He was 67.