Kenneth Radnitzer, 91, a lifelong resident of Oak Park, died on Jan. 1, 2018 at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. Born in Oak Park on Feb. 7, 1926 to the late Adolph and Margaret Radnitzer, he attended school here until eighth grade and then transferred to Northwestern Military Academy (now Northwestern-St. John Military Academy).
Following graduation, he was drafted and served in WWII with the U.S. Marines, 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division as a demolition expert and was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart while fighting in Okinawa. When the war ended, he was sent to China as part of the occupational force.
After the war, he went to Knox College on the GI Bill and majored in business administration. While there, he was in ROTC and commissioned as an officer, serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a platoon leader with the 31st Regiment of the Army’s 7th infantry Division. While a member of Company F of the 31st Regiment, he received the Bronze Medal with the letter V for valor.
In 1955, he married Ruth Elizabeth Froyd in Chicago’s Austin Covenant Church and they raised three boys while residing in Oak Park. A patient and wise father, he always found ways to support and guide his sons. He served as a Cub Master in Pack 22 and, after several years, took on the job of Scoutmaster to Troop 40. During the summer months, he coached various T-ball teams in Oak Park and in the winter months, he worked with the church’s basketball team. He worked at a variety of banks in the Chicago area as an auditor and, when he retired from banking, became a real estate agent in the Oak Park area.
After 26 years, he retired as a lieutenant colonel after serving in various units in the Active Reserve.
He was a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Villa Park, where he served as chairman of the church several times and was on the board for many years in various capacities. Active in the Oak Park Optimist Club and the Oak Park Runners Club, he ran hundreds of 5K races, and completed his first and last marathon at age 60!
Kenneth Radnitzer was the father of Keith (Leigh), Karl (Crystal) and Kurt (Dawn) Radnitzer; the grandfather of Bailey Radnitzer, Isaac (Rachel), Hannah and Abigail Radnitzer, and Joshua (Jessica) and Kelly Radnitzer; and the brother of the late Edith Radnitzer.
Visitation was held on Jan. 7 with a funeral service on Jan. 8 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, followed by interment at Glen Oak Cemetery.
The family appreciates memorial donations to Covenant Harbor Bible Camp (covenantharbor.org/) or Christ Covenant Church (https://www.facebook.com/ChristCovenantVillaPark/).