City Council remembers former DeKalb mayor


Northern Star File Photo

Bessie Chronopoulos expresses her appreciation for the acquisition of new park land in DeKalb in 2013.

By Kierra Frazier

DeKALB – Former DeKalb mayor Bessie Chronopoulos was remembered by City Council members at Monday’s meeting for her tenacity and commitment to community members. 

A moment of silence was held at Monday’s City Council meeting for Chronopoulos who died Sunday at 72 years old. Chronopoulos served as Fifth Ward Alderperson from 1975 until she was elected mayor in 1997, becoming the third woman to hold the office. She served as mayor until 2001.

After her term as mayor, Chronopoulos remained politically active in city government, consistently speaking at City Council meetings. Chronopoulos was also an NIU alumna and a retired teacher. 

Second Ward Alderperson Bill Finucane said that while he and Chronopoulos wouldn’t often agree all the time over the last eight years at City Council meetings, they still had great respect for each other. 

“Before she became a politician, Bessie was a teacher, and I think over the last eight years I’ve observed her try and teach members of the City Council in things that she thought were right for the City of DeKalb,” Finucane said. 

Mayor Jerry Smith echoed Finucane’s sentiments. 

“Bessie and I didn’t always agree, but I think we respected the position, we respected each other and we respected the fact that there are different views to any side of an issue, and we will certainly miss her,” Smith said. 

Sixth Ward Alderperson Mike Verbic said he first got to know Chronopoulos in 2011 when he was on the DeKalb School Board. 

“She invited me into her home and just had years of great conversation and camaraderie, and the people of DeKalb meant everything to her,” Verbic said.