In 1968, James Marousek was a member of the Komarek School District 94 Board of Education when he first conceived of a bike path connecting North Riverside with Riverside-Brookfield High School.
There was no safe way for Komarek grads to walk or bike to the high school along First Avenue, so Mr. Marousek wrote a letter to Cook County Board President Richard Ogilvie pitching the idea of a path. He even included a hand-drawn map showing where such a path could be located along the west side of First Avenue.
Nearly 50 years later — on March 10, 2017 — Mr. Marousek finally saw his dream become reality and was the guest of honor at a ribbon-cutting for the shared-use path that now connects the village and school from 26th Street to Ridgewood Road.
On June 30, 2018, Mr. Marousek died at the age of 98.
Born on Oct. 18, 1919, Mr. Marousek was a longtime resident of North Riverside who participated in many organizations in the community. He was very active in the Boy Scouts, where he was a member of the Pathway to Adventure Council and earned the Silver Beaver Award, which recognizes Scouts “of exceptional character who have provided distinguished service within a council.”
The Boy Scouts also bestowed upon Mr. Marousek its Vigil Honor, “the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow can bestow upon its members for service to lodge, council, and Scouting. Membership cannot be won by a person’s conscious endeavors,” according to the Boy Scouts website.
In addition to serving as a Komarek District 94 school board member and school board president, Mr. Marousek served for more than 50 years on the North Riverside Zoning Board of Appeals.
He was still an active member of the zoning board at the time of his death. His term was to have expired in April of 2020, when he would have been 100 year old.
By trade, Mr. Marousek was a packaging engineer, and was a life member of the Packaging Institute. According to his family, Mr. Marousek was responsible for conceptualizing, implementing and patenting many packaging innovations, including chocolate syrup in a plastic squeeze bottle and margarine in a plastic tub.
Mr. Marousek was the husband of Ethel L. Marousek (nee Carlson) for over 69 years; the father of Gregg J. (Karen Domenico) Marousek and the late Janet L. (James) Fredenburg; the grandfather of Robert Renzas II; the great-grandfather of Thomas and Genevieve; the brother of Doris L. Jans, the late Bertha Marousek and William J. Marousek; and the uncle of many nieces and nephews.
Visitation is on Thursday, July 5 from 3 to 8 p.m. and Friday, July 6, from 10:30 to the time of service at 11 a.m. at Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 31st St. in Brookfield. Interment is at Mt. Emblem Cemetery.