Growing up in the neighborhood, he was Eddie Petrak, just one of the kids. The son of Kathy and Ed Petrak and big brother to Michael (Mikey) and Mary he was just part of the group of neighborhood kids. I still call him Eddie.
Now he is all grown up and getting ready to retire. Retire? Seems like just yesterday the kids were all in the park playing baseball, Eddie along with them. But, now, Brookfield Police Chief Ed Petrak is getting ready to retire after 31 years.
Looking back to when the neighborhood kids were young, it seems like just yesterday. The Petraks lived on Uvedale Road moving to Selborne Road when Eddie, Michael and Mary were young.
It seemed like every day Eddie would make his way around the block to join the group. There was the year that most of the group had Big Wheel bikes with noisemakers which would herald they were on their way, like a convoy. The kids loved that noise; we parents, not so much, but it did let us know where they were.
When the front big wheels on the bikes wore out, Mrs. Petrak ordered new ones and they were good to go again. Then all of a sudden the noise stopped. The noisemakers in the bikes seemed to just conk out. I suppose they could be replaced, but we decided to tell the kids they couldn’t be ordered, much to their disappointment and our pleasure. OK, kids, the truth is now out; we felt we had to do it for adult sanity.
They passed the Big Wheel phase and became high school students, with most of the group attending RB while Eddie attended Quigley South. His friends respected his choice, and would sometimes refer to him as Father Ed.
He was a serious student, continuing his education at Southern Illinois and Lewis University. Later in his police career he would attend the FBI National Academy. When he became a policeman and then police chief, along with his family the proudest were his friends from his Big Wheel days in Riverside.
Eddie married Robin and they raised a family. He continues to be the young man he was growing up on Selborne Road with the qualities that made him a success in his chosen profession. The smile you see in his pictures is the smile he has always displayed, and an honest smile it is.
So congratulations, Eddie, on a job well done. We and your friends from the neighborhood will see you around. Big Wheels not allowed.