Cover photo for Richard  J.  Truitt's Obituary
Richard  J.  Truitt Profile Photo

Richard J. Truitt

August 5, 1924 — July 18, 2022

Richard J. Truitt

Richard “Dick” James Truitt, 97 died at County Care, Wheaton, IL, July 18. He was born August 5, 1924 in Chicago, IL. Raised by his maternal grandparents, Dennis and Mary Alice Neylon, along with his uncles and aunts in Warrenville & West Chicago. Dick graduated from West Chicago Community High School 1942. Following high school, he was a Stuart tank driver, while serving in WW II. Branch of Service: Army 83rd Reconnaissance Bn, 3rd Armored, company C. Rank: Corporal Years of service: 4 years War of Conflict: WW II – European Theater of Operations, United States Army (ETOUSA). Campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes - Battle of the Bulge, Rhineland, Central Europe Medals/Citations: 1944 World War II Normandy Overlord-Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword Presentation Medal with Ribbon. Army Good Conduct World War II Army of Occupation Medal WW II Victory Medal European African Middle Eastern Campaign Military Awards: French Fourragere, Belgium Fourragere Marriage/Career information: At the end of the war in 1945, Truitt returned home to West Chicago, Illinois, and soon married his high school classmate, Catherine Harbelis, a cadet nurse. He chose teaching as his profession and worked locally for the Waterman, later the Wheaton School District, teaching primarily 5th grade, Dick completed his Master’s Degree at Northern Illinois University. Truitt was instrumental in shaping youth both in and out of the classroom. Truitt continued his lifetime of community service and involvement, in local politics. His contributions to West Chicago’s future may be seen today and will be enjoyed by future generations of West Chicagoans. Clubs/Organizations/Services: 06/08/2019 - Grand marshal - West Chicago Railroad Days Parade 03-13-2012 – Certificate of Appreciation for lifelong service to his Country and Community 1986 – Establishment of West Chicago Historical Museum July 1975 – “Discovered” West Chicago Prairie, later named Truitt – Hoff Nature Preserve 1973 -1977 - Mayor of West Chicago Nov 1972 – Mayor Pro Tem West Chicago 09-01-1972 – Founder West Chicago Boy’s Wrestling Program 11-27-1972 Founding of Youth Football Program – West Chicago 1971 - Father of the Year 05-01-1971 – 04-30-1975 Official Commission Alderman 4th Ward 07-02-1969 – 04-30-1971 Official Commission Alderman 4th Ward Member of Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) Perhaps the most significant hometown accomplishment by Truitt was his championing of a tract of land vacated by West Chicago’s stockyards in 1960. The land, which was purchased by a developer sat vacant because of its natural water retention. During his tenure as Mayor, Truitt, a nature enthusiast, made the discovery that its plants were very special. While taking a class on prairie plants at the Morton Arboretum, he recognized plants that he had seen when playing as a boy at the stockyards in the 1930s. He engaged ecologists to inventory local species, eventually cataloging 622 plant and animal species – making it one of the most ecologically diverse areas in Illinois. Through his passion, insight, and advocacy, Truitt convinced the Forest Preserve District of DuPage and the City of West Chicago to purchase the property in 1979. It subsequently received the highest level of protection with the rare designation of a State Preserve, the West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve. An approximate one-third section was dedicated in 2006 as the Truitt-Hoff Nature Preserve, in honor of Mayor Truitt and Melvin Hoff, founder of the West Chicago Prairie Stewardship Group. Personal attributes Colorful, unorthodox, liberal, individualist, dedicated, passionate, character, avid learner, corny jokes, great gardener, compassionate for the underdog, lover of history, public servant and promoter of individual rights. Preceded by: Catherine (Harbelis) Truitt, wife of 52 years, 3 Uncles, and 3 Aunts. Survivors: Son, Doug (Susan) Truitt, Bear Lake, Michigan Daughter, Sue Truitt, Waunakee, Wisconsin Son, Tim (Janice) Truitt, Newport, Washington Son, Dan (Zoe) Truitt, Thessaloniki, Greece Son, Tom (Sandy) Truitt, St Charles, Illinois Daughter, Bridget Cortez (late Miguel), Carol Stream, Illinois Close Friend, John “Butch” Horn Grandchildren 14, Great Grandchildren 26, Great-Great Grandchild 1 Memorial visitation will be held on Friday, July 22, 2022 from 4 to 8 P.M. at Norris-Segert Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 132 Fremont St. West Chicago, IL Private Burial in Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery Private Burial: Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery The family suggests donations/memorials to: Give, donate, &/or volunteer to your local community. West Chicago, IL Nonprofits and Charities | Donate, Volunteer, Review | GreatNonprofits: https://greatnonprofits.org/city/west-chicago/IL
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Past Services

Memorial Visitation

Friday, July 22, 2022

4:00 - 8:00pm (Central time)

Norris-Segert Funeral Home & Cremation Services

132 Fremont Street, West Chicago, IL 60185

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Memorial Service

Friday, July 22, 2022

Starts at 7:30pm (Central time)

Norris-Segert Funeral Home & Cremation Services

132 Fremont Street, West Chicago, IL 60185

Plant Tree

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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