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Chester W. "Chet" Strumillo, age 86, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on July 27, 2010. He had a subtle wit and humor that would often catch people off-guard. He always brought a sense of humor and enthusiasm to things, which just made him pleasant to be around. Chester's life revolved around sports; watching them, playing them, talking about them. If you liked sports, you had an immediate friend in Chet. In 1941, during Chet's junior year of high school, he was the captain of the Morton Basketball team which won the Illinois High School State Basketball Championship. Chet was voted first team all-state, and in 1975 he was honored by being inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches' Hall of Fame. Chet initially attended the University of Illinois on a full basketball scholarship, where he captained the freshman team. But after one year of college at Illinois, he was drafted to serve his country in WW II, which he did for three years. He attained the rank of corporal and received a victory medal, good conduct medal, and American Theatre campaign ribbon. He became a military instructor in celestial navigation, teaching soldiers how to navigate using the stars, as well as being a "carbine sharpshooter." Chet returned from service to graduate from Northwestern University, after captaining the basketball team his senior year. He played at the Chicago Stadium against the Harlem Globetrotters, and almost won. Soon after that he found the love of his life, Marianne, and they were married fifty seven years ago. He is survived by his wife Marianne; son, Carl, and his three children Kelly, Morgan, and Brian; son, Don, and his wife, Vicky, and sons, Rob and Riley; and daughter, Carol McCarthy and her husband, Kevin. Some of Chet's passions over the years included bowling, golf, ping pong, playing with his dogs, helping Marianne in the garden, horseshoes, the Cubs, the Bears, and the Bulls, but most of all watching his kids play sports. Chet spent his final days among friends at King-Bruwaert House in Burr Ridge. Chet always took the time to learn just a little bit more about people he met. He would ask the spelling of your last name, just so he could remember it. He wanted to know where you were from and could always state a small fact about that place. He just wanted to be your friend. The most common comment heard whenever someone remembered Chet was that "He was a great guy."

Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Aug. 1, 2010
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