Longtime south suburban official, political leader Frank Zuccarelli dies at 70

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SOUTH HOLLAND — Frank Zuccarelli, a south suburban official and political leader for more than 40 years, died on Monday at the age of 70.

Zuccarelli’s death was announced in a statement released by the Village of South Holland, where he lived. According to the statement, paramedics were called to Zuccarelli’s home at 1:07 p.m. Monday, and he was pronounced dead at 1:18.

“No foul play is suspected, and it appears to be the result of natural causes,” the statement said.

Zuccarelli was first elected to the Thornton Community College Board of Trustees in 1978, the same year he earned his second degree from the school, which is now called South Suburban College.

An Air Force veteran, he had served as the college board of trustees’ chairman since 1987.

Zuccarelli also has served as Thornton Township Supervisor since 1993, and as Democratic Committeeman for Thornton Township.

Calumet City Mayor and State Rep. Thaddeus Jones (D-Calumet City) was among those paying tribute to Zuccarelli on Monday.

“He was my mentor, my friend, my brother,” Jones said. “The south suburbs lost a warrior. … He left a trail of service to others.”

Jones said one of his earliest political memories was of walking around his neighborhood as a 13-year-old, knocking on doors in support of Zuccarelli.

“Even though we had our battles, we understood each other,” Jones said. “We fought, but we came together not only for each other but for the people of Thornton Township.”

Jones said Zuccarelli was a longtime advocate for senior citizens, and on his watch a food pantry was started in Harvey that serves thousands of residents.

“Everyone that got help with a light bill, gas bill, electricity bill — that’s the legacy he left,” Jones said.

Others paid tribute to Zuccarelli on social media.

“Frank Zuccarelli was a friend, and not just to me,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweeted. “He delighted in being a friend to many. … Frank chose a civic path at a young age and never stopped.”

“Frank loved the people he served, and the people loved him,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart tweeted. “Our county & our state are better for having had him as a leader.”

“It’s hard to think of any elected official who did more for families and seniors than Frank,” Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza tweeted.

“A straight shooter with a deep love of the Southland, he took pride in understanding the needs of those he served,” Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi tweeted. “At our many events with the Township, Frank was welcoming and knew every detail. His work and dedication will always be remembered.”

Region: Northern,Region: Kankakee,News

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January 3, 2022 at 10:11PM

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