Phil Greco of The Odeum passes away at 67

By Dee Longfellow

Phil Greco, owner and president of The Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park, and longtime resident of Villa Park and Elmhurst, passed away peacefully at his Elmhurst home surrounded by family and loved ones on June 20, 2023. He was 67. Phil battled the devastating disease of ALS for five and one-half years with tremendous strength and courage. His optimism, wit, and humor throughout have been an inspiration to all who shared in his life.

A graduate of Marmion Military Academy and Elmhurst College (now University), he served as owner and president of The Odeum Expo Center for 40 years. The family business hosted a variety of special events including concerts, indoor soccer, corporate events, and public tradeshows. Phil loved the challenge of producing unique and complex events that were visited by more than 1.2 million visitors each year.

Through the years, Phil also remained involved with PEP Industries, a manufacturing company established by the family in 1947, which specializes in ecclesiastical furnishings for Catholic churches.

Phil was involved with many community events and organizations. He volunteered his time and expertise with the Elmhurst Summer Fest, Village of Villa Park Economic Development Committee, International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), Villa Park Chamber of Commerce, along with many other organizations and events in Villa Park and Elmhurst. Phil played a key role in establishing the DuPage County Convention and Visitors Bureau, serving on the inaugural board of directors and continuing to serve for many years thereafter.

John R. Quigley, president & CEO of the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce & Industry, not only knew Greco from the business world, but also was his classmate at Elmhurst College (now University).

“Phil was one of the nicest people you could ever hope to know,” Quigley said. “He was kind-hearted and genuine. He cared greatly for his family, friends and community, and his family’s business was an extension of those beliefs.”

It was a big surprise when it was announced that The Odeum Expo Center would be hosting its 40th anniversary and Farewell Season in 2022. At that time, Phil and his sister and co-owner Sis Greco released the following statement: “We have had a lot of fun and have met fantastic and unique people from around the country, so we’ve enjoyed this business.”

Over the course of his lifetime, Phil was recognized several times for his service and generosity. Most notably, Phil, along with the Odeum and his family, were recognized by the DuPage County Board and the Village of Villa Park Board of Trustees with several Proclamations for their investment and commitment to the community. One such contribution was the development and construction of The Great Western Trail Head Arch.

In his own fight with ALS, Phil helped fund a study with Northwestern Memorial Hospital studying the positive and clinical effects of yoga and breathing exercises on ALS patients. This study will soon be published and has already proved helpful for many patients with lung disease.

Phil leaves behind his wife, Kathleen (nee Olinger); daughter Jordan (Blake) Lejcar, granddaughter Loretta, brother Patrick Greco, Sr., and sisters Francine “Sis” Greco (Bruce Campbell) and Renee Greco, his nieces and nephews Patrick Greco Jr. (Antoinette), Carly Greco (Dave Bischoff), Shannon (Jeff) Rodenberg, Tara (Andy) Wilhoit, Colin (Taylor) Murphy, Jeff (Melissa) Schultz, and Kristen Schultz, and many great-nieces and great- nephews.

Phil loved his family, all of whom were so proud of him. He was an inspiration to all of us and will be truly missed.

Memorial donations in Phil’s name may be made to the Les Turner ALS Foundation for research at Northwestern Memorial Hospital: