Paul Soderdahl, 106

Pharmacist, chemist, cookie baker

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Paul Soderdahl, a lifelong resident of Oak Park, died on March 28, 2013 at the age of 106. Born on July 10, 1906, he lived for 105 years on the 500 block of North Humphrey. He attended Whittier School and graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School in 1924.

A pharmacist in the Austin and Oak Park communities, he taught at UIC Pharmacy College throughout the 1930s and '40s. He then moved to the chemicals industry until he retired in 1971. Several articles in Wednesday Journal over the last 10 years told his story. He was active until his very last months, including near flawless Sunday attendance at First United Church of Oak Park, where at one time he taught Sunday School.

He led an Austin Boy Scout Troop in the 1950s, held several leadership positions in the Oak Park and Chicago Camera clubs and was a dutiful neighbor and friend, often snowblowing most of the block, well into his 90s. His chocolate chip cookies were enjoyed by many children and loved ones. It was a great joy to him to provide home-baked cookies to others, and he baked until his 105th year.

Paul Soderdahl is survived by his daughter, Darlene Hetch; his granddaughters, Karen (Bob) Arnold, Linda Palmer and Sandy (Bruce) Sorenson; his nieces, Judy Thomm (Roger Kern) and Pam (Phil) Briggs; and many great-grandchildren, and great-grandnieces and nephews.

He will be greatly missed by the Plourde family: Kip Plourde (Sandra Cornejo), Ellen Plourde, and Ben and Emily Plourde, his dear friends and neighbors, whom he doted on and became his late-in-life family. Paul's wife, Vivian, preceded him in death, as did his brother Carl and sister Alice. Paul's father, Peter, turned 100 in 1959, which means father and son covered almost 154 years of this country's history.

A memorial service will be held to honor Paul's life sometime this spring at First United Church. Please direct any donations to First United Church, 848 Lake St., Oak Park.

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Varda Cheskis from Atlanta - formerly Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2013 8:43 PM

What a great life he had! I bet my dad knew him - my dad owned Schmid Drug Store and was the chief pharmacist - corner of Austin and North Avenue.

Suzanne Vestuto from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 8:27 AM

A loving family for many years! Mr. S will be missed! He is part of Oak Park's history. What a very full life he lived; a gentle example for us all!

Ellen Barnard Plourde from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 8th, 2013 6:38 AM

Paul's memorial service will be held Saturday, May 4, 3pm at First United Church.

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