|Birth: ||Nov. 12, 1913|
New York, USA
|Death: ||Mar. 21, 2003|
South suburban Park Forest has always been progressive, and Henry X. Dietch, 89, liked it that way. In fact, as the village's second president, and later as its longtime attorney, he was a pioneer and key player in establishing Park Forest as a national model of racial and economic diversity.
Judge Dietch, a former Cook County Circuit judge and two-time Democratic candidate for state senator, died of heart failure Friday, March 21, in Hospice of the North Shore in Skokie.
Judge Dietch was born Nov. 12, 1913, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated from Chicago's Crane High School. In 1937 he earned his law degree from John Marshall Law School. When America entered World War II, he joined the Army Air Forces, later serving in England as a lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.
Returning from the war, Judge Dietch was among thousands of Chicago-area veterans who found the city lacking in housing for their baby-booming families. While living with his in-laws in Logan Square, he learned of a planned community being developed 30 miles south of the Loop.
In 1949 Judge Dietch and his family were among the first people to move into Park Forest. After serving as a village commissioner, Mr. Dietch became village president in 1951 and spent four years in the post. At the end of his term in 1955, Park Forest won the first of its two All-American City awards.
That year, Judge Dietch ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, seeking to represent the county's "country towns."
In 1957 he was appointed village attorney of Park Forest and held that post until he went work for the Cook County Circuit Court in 1977.
"He had that civic-minded quality that people of my generation seem to have less and less of," said his son James. "He loved Park Forest. He was so attached and totally identified with the town and what it was about."
As village attorney, Judge Dietch helped draft and enforce Park Forest's first Fair Housing Ordinance in 1968, a time when block-busting and white flight were transforming neighborhoods throughout Chicago and the south suburbs.
As a judge, he was publicly critical of the corrupt legal system uncovered in the landmark Operation Greylord investigation of the early 1980s.
"Some positive action should have been taken within the system long before the federal government got into the picture," Judge Dietch told the Tribune in 1984, weeks before retiring at age 70.
He believed the Illinois Judges Association and Illinois Supreme Court had failed to act against judges who were known bribe-takers and the attorneys who plied them with cash for favorable findings.
"They were afraid of offending the political sponsors of those they suspected of corruption because the sponsors could influence judicial appointments," he said.
Survivors also include his wife, Shirley; another son, William; a daughter, Nancie Martini; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Monday in the Mausoleum Chapel of Shalom Memorial Park, 1700 W. Rand Rd., Arlington Heights.
Chicago Tribune, March 24, 2003
Shirley F. Friedman Dietch (1919 - 2003)
Shalom Memorial Park
Created by: Sonia Sanchez Galarza
Record added: Jan 17, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103709614
Rest in Peace 11-12-13|
Added: Nov. 12, 2013
in honor of a great civic leader... Rest in Peace|
Sonia Sanchez Galarza
Added: Jan. 17, 2013