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Jack Vadas: A big man of action for regular people and small fish in a big lake

John ``Jack'' Vadas holding court in 2011 at Vet's Live Bait and Tackle on Chicago's Southeast Side.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

John ‘‘Jack’’ Vadas died Thursday. He was 86.

Mr. Vadas, the owner of Vet’s Live Bait and Tackle on the Southeast Side, was a radical advocate for Lake Michigan, particularly through Perch America.

As Chicago photographer Lloyd DeGrane put it: ‘‘One thing [he] showed me was that a small group of people who were dedicated and focused could . . . get things changed.’’

Mr. Vadas fought against commercial perch netters, zebra mussels and round gobies. He led the public outcry when Illinois’ Joint Committee on Administrative Rules reversed an Illinois Department of Natural Resources rule on commercial netters. JCAR reversed its vote the next month.

Visitation is 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at Smits Funeral Home in Dyer, Indiana. Visitation (11 a.m.) and funeral service (noon) are Saturday at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Schererville, Indiana.