Longtime Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley dead at 56: ‘A literal force of nature’

Mayor Shepley served as chief executive of the northwest suburban city for 21 years from 1999 until his death Sunday, making him its longest serving mayor. No cause of death was immediately given.

SHARE Longtime Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley dead at 56: ‘A literal force of nature’
Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley

Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley

Matthew Apgar/Shaw Media Illinois

Longtime Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley has died at 56.

Mayor Shepley served as chief executive of the northwest suburban city for 21 years from 1999 until his death Sunday, making him its longest serving mayor, according to a statement from the City of Crystal Lake.

Mayor Shepley was pronounced dead at his home Monday morning, according to The Daily Herald. No cause of death was immediately given and calls to the McHenry County coroner were not immediately returned.

Before he took the helm in Crystal Lake, Mayor Shepley served as a city council member from 1997 to 1999.

“Mayor Shepley championed a united City Council, working together for one purpose and vision: to make Crystal Lake a great place to live,” the statement from Crystal Lake reads in part. “Mayor Shepley loved Crystal Lake and was a strong advocate for our community. We celebrate his life and trust that his legacy will inspire all residents and businesses to serve their community.The City of Crystal Lake extends our deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time.”

Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley

Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley

Provided photo.

Mayor Shepley was involved in local government since attending Eastern Illinois University. He grew up in Crystal Lake and practiced law at a firm in the Loop for many years.

He also worked for Centegra Health System and Northwestern Medicine.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of Aaron Shepley’s sudden passing,” said Christopher King, a spokesman for Northwestern Medicine. “Aaron’s dedication and service to the legacy Centegra Health System and to Northwestern Medicine were limitless.

“His impact on both health systems and the community will be remembered for years to come. During this challenging time, our thoughts are with his family.”

Outside of politics, the mayor co-founded the Crystal Lake Strikers in 2008, a summertime drum corps for local adults that became “one of the most popular entertainment acts in the Chicago area,” according to a statement from the drum corps.

Since its founding, the Strikers have marched hundreds of miles in local parades, performed in front of millions of people and appeared live on television multiple times, the statement continued.

“Aaron was a literal force of nature who loved the city where he grew up and the drumline he founded,” the statement reads in part. “The Strikers would not exist today without his vision, energy, and drive. We are all blessed to have been touched by him.”

Survivors include his wife, E. Regan Daniels Shepley, and daughters Chase and Madison.

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