West Chicago Celebrates Late Mayor's Life Sunday
Family, friends, residents and more gathered on Sunday to remember Mike Kwasman. He passed away on April 17.
More than 200 people filled the West Chicago Community High School gymnasium on Sunday to honor the life of their beloved mayor Mike Kwasman.
“He will not be forgotten by this community,” said Rep. Mike Fortner, West Chicago's former mayor, at Sunday’s memorial service.
Kwasman, 65, passed away April 17, after he suffered a heart attack days before. He had been West Chicago’s mayor since December 2006, when he was first appointed as acting mayor. He won elections in April 2007 and 2009.
Kwasman was Alderman of West Chicago’s fifth ward for six years.
“Kwas didn’t need to be mayor,” said Rich Jorgensen, an Honor Flight representative. “It wasn’t for the money. It wasn’t for the power nor the prestige. He wanted to be mayor simply to benefit the community and for the welfare of West Chicago.”
Several officials and friends spoke at the memorial service, resonating Kwasman's love for his family, West Chicago and its residents.
“He was passionate about Crystal and his family,” Congressman Randy Hultgren
said. “He was passionate about his neighborhood. He was passionate about the city of West Chicago, and he was passionate about serving people."
And Kwasman helped the city as best he could.
“He wanted to serve West Chicago,” U.S. Congressman Peter Roskam said. “And those of us that interacted with him, we knew that Mike Kwasman was the mayor of West Chicago to do something and not to be somebody. He was there to get a job done.”
A Vision For The Future
From supporting the police department to helping with the Special Olympics to regular Coffee with the Mayor programs, West Chicago Alderman Lori Chassee said Kwasman had a vision for the city and shared his passion with others.
“He studied people,” Chassee said. “He studied those around him and he had the ability to appeal to each one through their own individual strengths and passions. He honed that ability to show those around him his vision through their lens. … Mike saw what West Chicago could be and his goal was to get us there.”
Although he isn’t around anymore, friend Pat Bond said he believes Kwasman’s plans will still be carried out.
“Mike’s vision and spirit will continue to inspire leaders in this town, and will leave a lasting legacy on the city of West Chicago for generations to come,” Bond said. “West Chicago is a better place for having met Mike Kwasman.”
An Inspiring Leader, A Great Friend
While he made a difference in the West Chicago community, Alderman and Deputy Mayor Ruben Pineda said Kwasman was more than just the city's leader.
“He was a great mayor, a great man, and, most of all, a great friend,” Pineda said.
Du Page County Board Member Jim Zay said Kwasman made a difference in many lives and inspired him to spend more time with his sons.
“He not only made me a better leader,” Zay said, “but he made me a better man and a better father.”
“A Twinkle in His Eye”
Kwasman will make one more public appearance in a pre-recorded interview with a West Chicago WWII Veteran, Jorgensen said.
“This (interview) is how I want to remember him,” Jorgensen said of the taped segment. “He was kind and damper. He had that great smile behind that handle-bar mustache. He had a twinkle in his eye and he said, ‘We are going to have a celebration of life.’ So let’s do that today, as he would have wanted us to do, to celebrate his life.”