Naperville mourns loss of beloved longtime leader George Pradel

NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- Naperville residents continue to mourn the loss of their longtime leader George Pradel.

The former mayor died Tuesday after a battle with cancer.  He was 80 years old. Wednesday would have been his 81st birthday.

Pradel was admitted to the hospital several weeks ago when doctors found a cancerous tumor. The cancer quickly spread to his whole body.

Pradel was a man whose name is synonymous with Naperville.  He was a public servant for more than 50 years.

The Marine Corps led to a 29-plus year as police officer where he came to be known as “Officer Friendly.” He retired as a lieutenant.

Pradel mentored the current police chief Robert Marshall who was a sergeant when he came on the job in the early 80s until 1995. He was elected mayor in 1995 and held the office until 2015.

He presided over one of the fastest growing communities in the nation and with a civic passion unmatched, he was the city’s biggest cheerleader. He hardly ever missed a local event.

“He fought cancer for two years,” his daughter, Carol Pradel, said. “But you know what? They gave him a year to live but he said, ‘You know what? That’s not good enough, I’m not ready.’”

Carol Pradel is one of three children born to George and his wife of 55 years, Patricia. Patricia Pradel passed away several years ago. The Pradels also had three foster children.

As Carol Pradel said, she knows her dad is happy and at peace.

“I know my Dad is smiling down right now,” she said.

Visitation Hours
Saturday, Sept. 8
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 9
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visitation Location
Naperville City Hall
400 S. Eagle St. Naperville, IL 60540
A private funeral service and internment will follow.

The family set up an online guest book that people can sign here.