FredEsmondThe mayor of Utica Illinois, Fred Esmond, who piloted the village through floods and tornadoes, died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 63.

“The Fred Esmond I knew was the best kind of person you could ever hope to meet,” former opponent Schrader said. “He blended a calm, easy demeanor with a sharp business sense and a vision for our town’s future that couldn’t have been pulled off by anyone else.

“I considered him a mentor and will miss him very much.”

Esmond will be most remembered for steering Utica through multiple catastrophes, led by the 2004 tornado that claimed 10 lives, as well as multiple floods of both Clark’s Run and the Illinois River.

Under Esmond’s watch, Utica constructed a replacement village hall, erected a memorial plaza to tornado victims, sought millions in state and federal relief funds and launched the realignment of Route 178.

“If I had to say two words, I would say Fred was simply brilliant,” said village engineer Kevin Heitz. “He just had a way of getting the right people involved at the opportune time to get things accomplished.”

We didn’t know Fred Esmond here at The FRED Society but by what we found about him on the internet, he seemed like a Fred we should be proud to have shared a name with.

Thanks to Tom Collins and Craig Sterrett from the NewsTribune staff