By William Jones
Bill Gausselin’s love for his family and involvement in Evergreen Park are on the minds of friends and relatives after his death last week.
Mr. Gausselin suffered kidney failure and a heart attack after undergoing surgery to remove stomach cancer and died July 23 at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. He was 77.
“He was one heck of a guy,” T.P. Kerrigan Sons funeral home director Chip Kerrigan said. Kerrigan, who handled the funeral arrangements for Gausselin, said he knew Mr. Gausselin for 45 years.
Mr. Gausselin was born in Chicago, grew up on the South Side and went to Leo High School, said Tom Gausselin, one of Bill’s sons. Tom said Bill was a great father and was always involved in coaching children’s sports.
“He was a great dad,” Tom said. “He was a great all-around guy.”
“He was a very active person,” said Bill’s friend and Evergreen Park trustee Jerry Bosch added.
Mr. Gausselin moved to Evergreen Park in 1973. He joined the United Home Owners Association of Evergreen Park in 1985 and was the political party’s treasurer for the last eight years, Evergreen Park Village Clerk Cathy Aparo said. He also served on the Evergreen Park Police Department Pension Board from 1992 to 2003, Aparo said.
Bosch said Mr. Gausselin also did a lot of volunteer work for both his church, Most Holy Redeemer Parish, and the village. Mr. Gausselin had two daughters who died of cystic fibrosis and did a lot of work with organizations that helped those with the disease, Bosch said.
Bosch said he and Mr. Gausselin were both graduates of St. Joseph’s College from the 1950s, when it was “like a monastery.”
“We had a lot of good conversations about it,” Bosch said.
Mr. Gausselin had a home in Naples, Fla., which he liked to visit regularly, as well as a cottage on Van Auken Lake in Michigan, to which he often took his grandchildren, Tom said.
“He loved being around people,” Tom added.
At a funeral Mass held Monday, Bosch said Most Holy Redeemer Parish was packed with friends and family during the funeral Mass, at which all of Mr. Gausselin’s grandchildren said a few words about their grandfather.
“You’ll never find a man who loved his grandchildren as much as he did,” Bosch said. Despite having such a large family, Mr. Gausselin hardly ever missed an event, Bosch claimed.
“He and his wife [Phyllis] were remarkable,” Bosch continued.
“Bill and his wife could be best described as a family of faith and true friendship,” Kerrigan said.
The couple endured despite burying three of their children, including a son that died of a heart attack, and were always there to help friends in the time of tragedy, Kerrigan said.
“He was an outstanding human being,” said James Gausselin, Bill’s other son. “He’d do anything for anybody.”
Mr. Gausselin is survived by his wife, Phyllis; his sons, James and Thomas; his daughters, Mary Fangerow, Phyllis Sullivan, Kathleen Graal and Elizabeth Cheatham; his son-in-law, John Muprhy; his sisters, Marikay LaBaun, Jeanine Gausselin, Janette Berta, Jeri Vazquez and Janet Dahm; his sister-in-law, Patricia Hough; 31 grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren.
Mr. Gausselin retired from Montgomery Ward after working for the company for 43 years, and also worked as a real estate agent with Century 21. He was a member of The Garfield S.A.C. and Christ Cardiac Rehab Team. He was a former parishioner of St. Basil Parish.
Interment was held at St. Mary Cemetery in Evergreen Park. Memorials can be sent to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 150 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL, 60601.