‘Mayor Dave’ remembered as friend, committed leader

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Mayor Dave

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City of Park Ridge, colleagues mourn Dave Schmidt, who passed away on March 4

Colleagues of Dave Schmidt shared their memories of the affable Park Ridge mayor, who passed away suddenly this week from an undisclosed illness.

“The city lost a mayor, and I lost a very good friend,” Fifth Ward Alderman Daniel Knight told The Bugle.

Knight began serving on the Park Ridge City Council with his friend “Mayor Dave” four years ago, but the first-term alderman said their relationship dates back several years further. Sharing an occasional dinner, Knight remembered conversations the two would have about the city and their favorite sports. He described the mayor as a “Michigan guy,” who loved the Detroit Tigers, the Michigan Wolverines and the Detroit Red Wings.

“First and foremost, Dave was a friend of mine,” Knight said, who added that Schmidt’s larger than life personality made him a unique and effective leader.

Alderman Joseph Sweeney, First Ward, shared that sentiment, noting that the fiscally responsible mayor worked diligently to improve the city for its residents.

“Mayor Schmidt was a great mayor for the city of Park Ridge,” Sweeney said. “Not all of us always agreed with him, but it was a situation where he respected each of our opinions and our right to speak up.”

Sweeney was first appointed to the city council in 2009 to serve out the remainder of Schmidt’s term as First Ward alderman after he was elected mayor. Schmidt was re-elected in 2013.

In those six years, Sweeney said the two became close colleagues, sharing the same goal of making the city fiscally responsible and stable.

“Every meeting was a fond memory with Dave Schmidt,” he said. “He was always trying to do the best for Park Ridge.”

During his recent state of the city address, the former mayor discussed some strides the city has taken in recent years towards accomplishing those goals.

“As a result, I am as optimistic as ever about the city’s future,” Schmidt said during his March 2 state of the state address.

Commenting on Schmidt’s legacy, Sweeney said it’s a shame the mayor will not get to see the work he started be completed.

Schmidt, who also worked as an attorney with the law firm Chittenden, Murday & Novotny, was serving his second term as mayor at the time of his death. A city official said the 57-year-old mayor was doing pro bono work with a client at his home Wednesday when he needed to be rushed to the hospital due to a “sudden illness.” Schmidt was transported by paramedics to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where he was pronounced dead just before midnight on March 4.

Visitation will be Sunday, March 8, from 2-8 p.m. at Cumberland Chapels, 8300 W. Lawrence Ave, Norridge. Funeral services will be held Monday, March 9, at a time to be determined.

Sweeney said the council will meet March 16 to discuss options for filling the position.

Schmidt is survived by his son Kevin; his sisters Cathy Schmidt of Chicago, Beth (Gary) Taylor of Evanston and Karin Schmidt of Des Plaines; his brother Robert (Karyn Cihak) Schmidt of Des Plaines; his daughter-in-law Mary Schneider Schmidt of Des Plaines; his granddaughter Sophia Schmidt of Des Plaines; his longtime companion, Maria Cataldo of Park Ridge; his sister-in-law Hedda Hernandez Schmidt of Highland Park; his nieces Frances and Samantha Schmidt of Highland Park; and his stepmother Kathleen Schmidt of Greenwood, South Carolina.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Harold W. Schmidt II, M.D., of Greenwood, South Carolina, and Dr. Ann Faulkner, Ph.D., of Chicago; and his youngest brother, Charles Schmidt of Highland Park.

For additional information, visit www.cumberlandchapels.com.

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