By Dee Longfellow
Downtown Elmhurst was turned into a parade of shiny vehicles decked in blinking lights on the morning of Friday, June 10 as law enforcement officials from a host of cities and villages came together to bid farewell to one of its own.
Later that day, Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth was laid to rest at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Evergreen Park following a 44-year career in law enforcement. He died peacefully, surrounded by family and loved ones, but he was sent off with a cavalcade of officials from throughout the local area, the surrounding counties and the state of Illinois.
Familiar faces came out to offer their condolences including former Police Chiefs John Millner and Steve Neubauer. Besides current Mayor Scott Levin, former mayors Steve Morley and Pete DiCianni were on hand to offer their regards as well.
Ruth had formerly served as Chief of Police at Skokie and Countryside, so it wasn’t a surprise to see those departments represented.
Numerous other municipalities participated as well. Among them were Bensenville, Palos Heights, Warrenville, Riverside, Stone Park, Melrose Park, Franklin Park, Schiller Park, Waukegan and more, along with as officers from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department and the Illinois State Police.
The ceremony began with the posting of the colors by the color guards of both the Elmhurst and the Skokie police departments. Elmhurst Deputy Chief of Police Michael McLean took the podium and spoke a few words before introducing Rev. Tim Perry, who led the invocation.
Other speakers included Mayor Levin, followed by Burr Ridge Police Chief John W. Madden, retired Police Chief Barry Silverberg of Skokie, current Skokie Police Chief Patrick Panizo and Denis Chapin, a close friend of the Ruth family.
In a moving moment, the Du-Comm Public Safety Communications shared Chief Ruth’s last radio call.
The Chicago Police Department Pipes & Drums Corps provided music during the recessional as officers lined up along First Street for a final salute. People moved to their vehicles to begin the procession through the City of Elmhurst and then on to St. Mary Catholic Cemetery at 87th Street and Hamlin Avenue in Evergreen Park, where the chief was laid to rest.