Kevin J. Close, who served one term as Brookfield’s president and for a decade as the village manager of Lyons, died on Nov. 8, 2015 at the age of 78 at his home in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Raised in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, Mr. Close served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1954-57 and earned an MBA from Northwestern University. He worked for 26 years for North American Philips Co. (formerly Advance Transformer) in Rosemont, retiring in 1995.
Locally, he was very involved in the Brookfield Kiwanis Club, serving as president, and the Brookfield Jaycees. He was former state director of the Illinois Jaycees. Mr. Close was also a former scoutmaster and a Boys Scouts of America district commissioner.
Mr. Close was also very active in local politics, a trait that ran in the family. His oldest sister, Carol Crosby, was also involved in Brookfield politics, first as a member of the Brookfield Library board and then as a member of the village board. She was a member of the PEP Party.
But Mr. Close didn’t follow his sister’s footsteps when it came to choosing a political party. Instead, Mr. Close ran under the United We Care banner. Like his sister, Mr. Close first won election as a library board member.
Carla Close Prosen, Mr. Close’s daughter, said her father and aunt engaged in lively arguments concerning local politics when she was younger.
“They argued, but it was fun arguing,” she said. “I grew up in it, hearing it, loving it. They’d be fighting over our town.”
In 1985, Mr. Close was elected village trustee and four years later, in 1989, he was elected village president.
Mr. Close and his sister never served together on the village board. It was after his sister walked away from local politics that Mr. Close hit his stride in local politics.
But after a single term as village president, Close was defeated by less than 300 votes by the PEP Party’s Tom Sequens in 1993, and he left the Brookfield political scene.
In short order, he was hired as village manager in Lyons, a post he held for almost a decade, retiring in 2002. But in 2005, he was rehired on an interim basis, a role he served in for several more years.
Prosen, his daughter, kept the family’s ties to local politics active, however. After many years supporting PEP, Prosen broke from the village’s dominant party to run unsuccessfully for village trustee in 2015.
Mr. Close supported his daughter’s political ambitions, no matter which political party she was part of.
“He loved it,” Prosen said. “He knew I loved Brookfield and was proud to see I was taking after him.”
For the past decade or so, Mr. Close and his wife, Christine, have spent winters in St. Petersburg, coming home for summers to the Prairie Avenue home they bought in 1974 and where their daughter still lives.
The past four years, according to Prosen, it’s been more difficult for Mr. Close to travel back and forth between Brookfield and Florida due to a battle with cancer, which finally claimed his life.
Kevin Close is survived by his wife, Christine Close (nee Janeteas); his daughter, Carla (Michael) Close Prosen; his grandson, Kevin Prosen; and his brother, James (Loretta) Close. He was preceded in death by his brother, John Close, and his sister, Carol (the late Patrick) Crosby.
Visitation will be on Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 4 to 9 p.m. at Johnson Funeral Home, 3845-47 Prairie Ave. in Brookfield. A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Church, 126 Herrick Road in Riverside.
Private committal service will be at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.
Memorial donations are appreciated to the Boy Scouts of America or the Salvation Army.