Remembering Mayor Emeritus A. George Pradel
The City of Naperville mourns alongside the entire community as we remember Mayor Emeritus A. George Pradel, who passed away at the age of 80 on September 4, 2018. Pradel remains Naperville's longest serving mayor, holding the title from 1995 to 2015.
Below is information on Mayor Emeritus Pradel's life and contributions to the City of Naperville, along with information about public services to honor him.
Celebration of the Life of A. George Pradel
The funeral service and burial of Mayor Emeritus A. George Pradel are private. However, the Pradel family wishes the community to be aware of the funeral procession route should they wish to pay their respects. The procession from the church to the cemetery is expected to begin around 11 a.m. today, September 10, at the conclusion of the funeral service. The timing of the procession is tentative.
Mayor Emeritus Pradel's Biography
The epitome of service to one’s community, Mayor Emeritus A. George Pradel dedicated his life to his beloved Naperville, Illinois. Born in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood in 1937, Pradel and his family moved to Naperville two years later and would call the city his home for the rest of his life.
Pradel served as a U.S. Marine from 1956 to 1959 and earned an associate degree in Police Science from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. He served in the Naperville Police Department for over 29 years before retiring from the force as Lieutenant of Police on April 30, 1995, to become Mayor. Known as 'Officer Friendly' to generations of Naperville residents, the hallmark of his term as Mayor was pioneering change and growth through teamwork. At five terms of service, Pradel remains the city’s longest serving Mayor.
Pradel was best known for his countless public appearances and robust enthusiasm for Naperville. He continued to be the City’s “number one cheerleader” after being named the first Mayor Emeritus in Naperville’s history following the end of his tenure as mayor in 2015.
Throughout the years, Pradel gave tirelessly to not only city government, but local and regional organizations as well. A member of the Rotary Club International, Illinois Police Association and Chamber of Commerce, Pradel was the recipient of numerous awards, including from the Rotary Club, Boys Scouts of America, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chamber of Commerce and an Honorary Doctorate from North Central College.
Pradel was perhaps best known for bringing the national Safety Town program to the Naperville community in the 1970s. Now serving over 1,700 students in its summer program each year, generations of Naperville children have learned about pedestrian, bike, fire, water, railroad, bus, animal and personal safety thanks to Pradel’s efforts. So synoymous was Pradel with Safety Town that the kidsized building campus on Aurora Avenue was renamed the A. George and Patricia Pradel Safety Town of Naperville in 2015.
Married to his beloved wife Patricia “Pat” Pradel for 55 years before her death in August 2015, Pradel and Pat were parents to three children – George, Carol and Gary – and also raised three foster children – George, Tony and Sue.
For Members of the Media
All media inquiries about Mayor Emeritus A. George Pradel's passing should be directed to his daughter Carol Pradel.
Statement from Mayor Steve Chirico
"George Pradel was the kind of community-focused individual that blesses a town once in a lifetime. His name will forever be remembered in our City, and when people think of him, they will remember an individual who quietly and humbly gave of himself through his 29 years as a police officer and then for two decades as our longest-serving Mayor.
A cheerleader and champion to all, George’s legacy will live on through the city he helped shape. As the founder of Safety Town, we owe generations of our children’s safety to this, his crowning achievement. This wonderful man will not be forgotten.
On behalf of the City Council, the City of Naperville and my wife Julie and our entire family, we send our deepest condolences to the Pradel family on the loss of George.”
Statement from the Naperville City Council
“Today we come together as a group to add our collective voices to the outpouring of grief over the loss of Mayor Emeritus A. George Pradel. Whether we served on Council under his leadership or alongside him through a variety of organizations, we all knew that the heart and soul of this community was George. To know him was to love his zest for life and for Naperville, and it is in that spirit that we celebrate his contributions to this community and his genuine leadership style of care and compassion. Today we send our support and sympathy to the Pradel family.”
Statement from City Manager Doug Krieger
“The entire City of Naperville mourns today over the loss of Mayor Emeritus A. George Pradel. George’s enthusiasm for this City and love for its residents was second only to the love for his family – in fact, it was the Pradel family’s support for him that allowed George to devote so much of his life to Naperville.
George was the kind of man who knew everyone’s name and, when he saw you, no matter how busy he was, he’d stop and see how you were doing. Everyone was equal in George’s eyes – you were a cherished member of his extended Naperville family, and from the first time he met you, you were a friend.
We grieve the loss of George but are thankful that his time spent as a police officer, our Mayor and our first Mayor Emeritus changed Naperville forever. I am humbled and grateful that I could call this man my friend, and I join the many who are sending their sympathy to the entire Pradel family today.”
Statement from Police Chief Robert Marshall
“Today, we join the Pradel family and the entire Naperville community in mourning the loss of a beloved citizen, public servant and friend. A. George Pradel’s service to this community left an indelible mark on our department that will no doubt continue to serve as inspiration to all those who knew him.
He was hired as a police officer on June 1, 1966 and served for 29 years until his retirement as a Lieutenant. His devotion to our department continued in his 20 years as Naperville’s Mayor, as he continued to champion crime prevention, attend public safety events and swear in a total of 371 individuals ranging from the positions of Police Chief, Deputy Chief, Commander and Sergeant to Police Officer, Community Service Officer, Detention Officer and Police Services Officer.
We at the Naperville Police Department will always cherish his years of service and the contributions he made to this city as a police officer and a leader.
Officer Friendly, you are now officially 10-42. We’ll take it from here.”