The Century Walk Corporation

Former Naperville mayor dies

March 7, 2013 — Source: Trib Local — Author: Melissa Jenco

Former Naperville Mayor Chester “Chet” Rybicki, who is credited with shepherding the city’s growth and the creation of the Riverwalk, has died.

Rybicki led the city from 1975 to 1983 and also was a World War II veteran. His death on Wednesday came just weeks shy of his 97th birthday.

“Naperville lost a treasured individual yesterday who dedicated his life to service to his country and community,” Mayor George Pradel said in a prepared statement.

Rybicki’s legacy, he said, includes supporting the creation of the Riverwalk, pushing for the construction of Naper Boulevard and commissioning the project that became Safety Town.

Rybicki’s involvement in the Riverwalk, now considered Naperville’s “crown jewel,” is memorialized in a Century Walk statue dubbed “Riverwalk Visionaries” showing the former mayor and businessman Jim Moser.

“Chet was just a huge advocate of the Riverwalk, always very tireless in his advocacy, eager to show people around, eager to show it off and he was very proud of what the community created during his term,” Riverwalk Commissioner Rick Hitchcock said Thursday.

Century Walk President W. Brand Bobosky called Rybicki dignified and humble.

“He always had the best for Naperville really,” Bobosky said. “I don’t think it was about his ego at all and he didn’t win them all, but I think he was right more than not.”

Rybicki’s dedication to Naperville continued right up to his death, according to Pradel.

“Even in his final days, he made sure to tell me what he thought needed to happen in our beloved town,” Pradel said. “I will miss my good friend so very much and will never forget how he helped make Naperville the wonderful City it is today.”

Rybicki, a resident of Naperville since 1960 and a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Naperville, is preceded in death by his wife Lillian "Mickey" Rybicki.

Funeral services are pending. The city has lowered the flags on public buildings until further notice.