Farewell, dear friend…
Darrell Whistler
Darrell gets a hug from Charity Ahlgrim at an ECAF event in 2013

Darrell Whistler passes away at 83

By Dee Longfellow

For The Elmhurst Independent

Some people — many people, really — are active in the community. Every now and then, there comes a person who literally IS the community. One such person is Darrell Whistler, who has been the community for 55+ years.

Whistler passed away on June 14, 2017, at the age of 83. He was the beloved husband of Dorothy M., nee Ready; father of Donald W. (Denise) Whistler, Denise L. (James M.) Lucas and the late David; grandfather of Alyssa Kozacek, Amber Kozacek, Matthew Whistler and Keith Whistler; brother of Wyona Moser.

“Few people have contributed as much to the community as Darrell Whistler,” said William C. Gooch, Chairman of the Board of Community Bank of Elmhurst (CBE), where Whistler served on the Board practically since its inception. “He served on the bank board and was also a close personal friend. Darrell was an extremely valuable director who helped guide our success. He had mastered a balancing act between his personal friendships and business relationships.”

Later Gooch announced that the Board of Directors at CBE had elected to name Darrell Director Emeritus, which he shall remain in perpetuity.

Others had kind words for Whistler as well.

“He had incredible dedication to Elmhurst and all of the different things he worked on, such as the Zoning & Planning Commission and the Hospital Board of Governors,” said Betsy Hanisch, who knew Whistler in a variety of different roles in the community. “He was one of the most hard-working people in the community and he always held Elmhurst at the center of his heart, it was his whole focus. He was always trying to improve things to make the City a better place.”

Darrell had a 36-year career in management at Sears Roebuck and Company retiring in 1991 and served on the Elmhurst Zoning and Planning Commission since 1969 and as its Chairman since 1974. He was also very active with Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, especially the Board of Governors and served as Chair of the annual Fall Fundraiser that took place every November for years, until it was discontinued. He was active with Elmhurst College, Elmhurst Economic Development Corporation, Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Kiwanis Club of Elmhurst. He was always on the scene for Kiwanis events, particularly the annual Pancake Breakfast and Mother’s Day Plant Sale.

He was particularly proud of his work with the Elmhurst Jaycees and was very honored to accept the organization’s Distinguished Service Award back in the 1980s.

Darrell Whistler at the 4 on the 4th race, July 4 of 2011.

“Darrell was an Elmhurst icon,” said Ken Bartels, who worked with Whistler over the years at the City of Elmhurst, at Community Bank of Elmhurst, at Elmhurst College, and several other endeavors. “He worked tirelessly for the community over many years. He will be impossible to replace.”

After serving as Chair of the Zoning and Planning Commission for many years, Darrell’s term had just expired in April and he planned on stepping down at that time, which he did. ZPC Commissioner Susan Rose was recently appointed Chair in the past month or so.

“Darrell was fair to all and a gentleman to everyone,” Rose said. “He devoted countless hours to this town that he loved. He was of a generation that believed in service without personal benefit. There will not be another like him for a long time. He set an example of civic engagement and pride for all of us.

“Plus, he flipped a mean pancake for the Kiwanis every May!”

At Elmhurst College, Whistler was a longtime member of the Bluejay Backers club, which supports all of the College’s athletics teams through activities, special events and fundraising. He attended as many games as he could, but also could be found at many of the College’s lectures, theater productions and concerts.

“Darrell was so active and was involved in a variety of things on campus and in the community,” said Paul Krohn, athletic director at Elmhurst College. “He loved talking with our students; but then, he was a great mentor and friend to everyone.

“Darrell was such a good man—he was a genuine soul and a great friend, and he’ll be missed by so many people.”

Visitation at Ahlgrim Funeral Home, 567 S. Spring Rd.,  Monday, June 19, 2017. Memorial Services to be held on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 125 W. Church St. Private interment Graceland Cemetery, Burlington, Kan. In lieu of flowers, Memorials will be appreciated for St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 125 W. Church St., Elmhurst. Funeral arrangements provided by Ahlgrim Funeral Home. For more information, call 630-834-3515 or visit ahlgrim.com.


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