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Condolences to the Wehrli family

Wednesday, May 20, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: James Quinn
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The St. Francis High School Community would like to extend our condolences to the Wehrli family on the passing of Don Wehrli. Naperville’s Trolley Meister and community advocate who 63-years ago married his childhood sweetheart, Jean Knoch, died on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at his home in Naperville. He was 87. Just last summer he did a perfect back flip off the low board at Centennial Beach.

In addition to his wife, Don is survived by 7 children, Mary Lou '71 (Herb), Win (Deborah), Fred (Anne), Jill, Francie, Annette and Grant (Sharon); 14 grandchildren Sarah, Megan (Travis), Lauren (Josh), Michelle (Aaron), Dana, Michael (Colleen), Austin, Elizabeth, Kayla, Colette, Jack, Jake, Joe, and Luke; and 2 great-grandchildren Emma and Ben.

Donald E. Wehrli was born on February 28, 1928, the 7th of 13 children. He grew up in the original Pre-Emption House on Chicago Avenue in downtown Naperville. He attended Saints Peter & Paul Grade School and Naperville High School (Class of 1946). He served as U.S. Army Records Specialist followed by a career in sales.

Don managed the Dickenson Jam & Jelly Shop in Disneyland in the 1950s where Walt Disney told him, “Don, there is great satisfaction in making other people happy.” He never forgot that. He was elected to the Naperville City Council 1983-1987. He played in and later refereed the annual Turkey Bowl football game. He was fond of sayings and pleased to be published in Bits & Pieces: “Live a Life of Awareness.”

Don began Naperville Trolley & Tours in 1995. He delighted in telling the history of Naperville and welcoming people aboard to celebrate their happy occasions. The business grew to four trolleys and was recently sold to his daughter.

He planned his work and worked his plan. He handed out thousands of “Attitude” cards. He directed his energies toward gardening, exercise, speaking at public forums, working to support his family, volunteering for Naperville Evening Kiwanis and helping to build the Naperville Riverwalk. “I think there are two kinds of people in the world, givers and takers. Givers are happy,” he said.

He was a Past Commander of American Legion Naperville Post 43, inducted into the Saints Peter & Paul School Hall of Honors in 2006 and received the Naperville Jaycees Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. His good attitude, loving family and friends, and the musical comfort of his favorite record, “London in Love,” helped him through his final struggle with prostate cancer.

Visitation is at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home at 44 S. Mill Street on Wednesday, May 20th from 2 to 9pm. Mass of Christian burial will be held on Thursday, May 21st at 11am at Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 36 N. Ellsworth Street, Naperville, with interment immediately following. Memorials may be made by casting your vote in all elections and to the Abraham Lincoln Sculpture, Century Walk, 34 W. Chicago Avenue, Naperville IL 60540 or We Grow Dreams, started by Naperville parents, 1055 W. Washington Street, West Chicago IL 60185 (

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