Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley, R.I.P.

Aaron Shepley, 2010

Mayor of Crystal Lake since 1999, Aaron Shepley died in his sleep at age 56 last night.

He was elected in 1999 after serving on the City Council for two years.

He also was appointed to the Pace Board and has served since then.

The former Mayor picked five of the six remaining on the City Council.

His only contemporary was Ellen Mueller-Brady, who ran for Algonquin Township Supervisor against Chuck Lutzow and lost.

Shepley presided over a growing city in the early 2000’s, then, a recession that severely affected the retail sector.

Crystal Lake made a comback during the 2010’s, but not to the extent he hoped.

Shepley foresaw the re-development of the Walmart-Cub Food shopping center into a Deer Park.

Shepley was Mayor when the new City Hall was built and it would surprise me not at all the building was re-named from Shepley.

The Mayor was in office when Dave Goss’ dream of turning Vulcan Lakes into a city park was achieved.

The gazebo of Three Oaks Recreational Area.

At first it was to be financed with a Tax Increment Financing District along Route 14. The Toyota car dealership was given financial incentives to move to Route 31.

But the deep 2007-8 recession eliminated that possibility, so the City Council raised the city sales tax by 75%.

The city got so desperate for development on that Route 14 TIF district that it allowed a car dealership–VW–to build there, thus ruining the long-term re-development plan.

Shepley successfully took on Crystal Lake High School District 155 when its Board tried to build a football stadium near a city subdivision without obtaining zoning permission.

A side view of the South High School football bleachers.

Politically, Shepley served as a Republican Precinct Committeeman, even Vice Chairman for Outreach. But four years ago, he supported Democrat Jack Franks’ election for McHenry County Board Chairman.

He has not been opposed in recent re-election campaigns, seeing opponents kicked off the ballot for technical reasons by his fellow council members sitting as the Crystal Lake Board of Elections.

I figure the avid bicyclist’s longest lasting accomplishment will be the bike paths through Crystal Lake.

Or, perhaps for his immediate neighbors, the blocking of the extension of South Walkup Avenue past Crystal Lake Central High School to Route 14.

His support of the McHenry County College minor league baseball stadium, which was not supported by a sufficient number of colleagues, will be, if not already, forgotten.

Shepley and Councilman Brett Hopkins were active members of the Crystal Lake Strikers.

Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley made two passes through the Independence Day parade route–first on the city float and second with the Strikers.

Shepley’s day job was at Centegra before the health system sold out to Northwestern Medical. He was highly paid.

Shepley led the fight to prevent Mercy Health System from building a hospital in Crystal Lake.

= = = = = =

The Coroner’s Office says Shepley died of

  • cardiac arrhythmia
  • ischemic heart disease

= = = = =

From the City of Crystal Lake:

City of Crystal Lake Remembers Mayor Aaron T. Shepley

Crystal Lake, IL – It is with profound sadness the City of Crystal Lake announces the sudden passing of Mayor Aaron T. Shepley, who passed away at the age of 56.

Mayor Shepley served the City as Mayor for 21 years, since 1999.

He also served for two years as City Council member, from 1997 to 1999.

As the City’s longest serving Mayor, he impacted the community with a positive and empowering message.

The Crystal Lake City Council.

Mayor Shepley championed a united City Council, working together for one purpose and vision: to make Crystal Lake a great place to live.

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.

= = = = =

Cause of death, according to the McHenry County Coroner:

-Cardiac arrhythmia

-Ischemic hear disease

Natural death.

= = = = =

From the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce:

We Mourn the Passing of Crystal Lake Mayor, Aaron Shepley

It is with great sadness that we pass along the news that Crystal Lake Mayor, Aaron Shepley passed away early this morning. 

Shepley was elected mayor of Crystal Lake in 1999.

He also served as President of Centegra Insurance Services and led the corporate legal and risk departments as General Counsel. 

Mayor Shepley presented at our Annual State of the Community Event each year and worked hard to help create an inviting and collaborative business environment for Crystal Lake.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff at the Chamber of Commerce, our heartfelt condolences go out to Mayor Aaron Shepley’s family.

His accomplishments and dedication to making Crystal Lake a great place to live and work will remain with us for a long time to come.

From State Rep. Tom Weber:

Rep. Weber Statement on Unexpected Passing of Crystal Lake Mayor

FOX LAKE – State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa), who represents the 64th District that includes the northern part of Crystal Lake, issued the following statement mourning the unexpected passing of longtime Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley:

“My heartfelt condolences to the family of Mayor Shepley and the entire Crystal Lake community,” said Weber. “His stewardship of the city over the past several years has been integral to it becoming a thriving and welcoming community for so many families today. His commitment to public service will be sorely missed.”

Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley

= = = = =

And how can I forget this 2007 photo of Shepley after a statement from, I believe, Jeff Thorsen that he found not to his liking.

When one searched Google for a long while after for “rolling eyes,” his image came up,

Never could get the red out of his eyeballs, try as I might.


Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley, R.I.P. — 49 Comments

  1. Crystal Lake under Shepley was no better than a Country run like the USSR under Khrushchev, China under Mao, Cuba under Castro, North Korea under Kim Yo Jung or The Fuhrer Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany.

    Anytime some is in power for decades and the City Council all of the same mind set and in lock step with little to no descent isn’t a good thing.

    Condolences to his Wife and daughters but hopefully we’ve seen the end of this one man, one mindset government where paperclips and sequecencial numbers on paperwork along with picking fly crap out of pepper when it suits their purpose are done!

    Let’s hope his successor also removes twenty years of ass kissers cringing bootlickers and assorted Butt Boys at City Hall!

    Buh bye and take that with you!

  2. Hoss, it’s dissent and Kim Jung Un but everything else is spot on. Let me add a final….

    Sieg Heil Mein Fuhrer!!!!

  3. Heard on the radio, the coroner will be doing an autopsy to determine cause of death.

    At this point, there does not appear to be any foul play.

  4. Way too young.

    Saw this happen way too many times.

    RIP Mayor Shepley.

  5. No foul play?

    Then why an autopsy?

    Maybe he had Covid19.

    It doesn’t matter what the teal cause was, gotta get those #s up for the phone pandemic fear hysterics!

  6. Nice picture of the eyes bulging and rolling around of the departed Mayor McCheese!

    Is this after the toilet plunger inserting?

  7. He was instrumental in restricting access to my neighborhood by emergency vehicles and the residents that live and work there, while allowing Willow Creek church to violate the same common sense traffic regulations that precipitated the restricted access to us.

    He was stubborn, close-minded, and manipulative of facts and fellow council members, despite the lack of evidence (physical incidents) that this closure was necessary.

    He was rude to my wife when she exercised her right to object in a public meeting.

    As he told her, “Everything has a PLAN”.

    The dictatorship is over.

    There’s your plan.

  8. The anonymous cowards piling on are disgusting. Bunch of envious, weak cowards.

  9. Kalki, the autopsy is to determine how he died, especially so young.

    Autopsy is mandated by law unless you were under the care of a doctor or hospice in the last 30 days.

    They will learn a lot from the autopsy and the toxicology that will be conducted.

    Was it a widow-maker grabber or was it a drug induced homicide/suicide?

    They are saying that on initial appearance nothing stuck out, a 56 year old seemingly fit bike rider, shouldn’t just die in his sleep without causation.

    Causation could’ve been an underlying undetected condition.

    Either way, time will tell and you pray for him and his family whether you liked his politics or not.

  10. Thank you, New Gus for your thorough explanation, and your respectful request.

    At age 56, and not suffering any known illness, the autopsy will reveal much, and the death certificate must contain cause of death. Let’s not speculate, the coroner’s office will do its job.

    Remember when Mark Justen died suddenly after winning the Republican primary for coroner earlier this year?

    May God be with their families and loved ones at this time.

  11. Every time I think the troglodytes on this blog can’t get any lower, any more disgusting…

    Aaron was not perfect- unlike all you keyboard warriors who hide behind your keyboards throwing trash at people who step out front to try to lead.

    Aaron and I disagreed on lots of things- but he lived his life in alignment with what he felt was good for this city.

    For nearly 25 years, he gave of his time and talent for this community.

    He gave of his time as a civic leader.

    He gave his time as a community servant.

    You may not agree with what he did all the time, but he at least took the risk to do something and stood and took the blow back from jackwagons like those of you who are anonymously disparaging his name and throwing out unfounded allegations.

    I sat in those city council meetings for 6 years…. My guess is none of you attended a single one unless you personally benefited.

    I know you were never there Cal.

    I don’t remember seeing you giving of your time or talent to a community program.

    You all sit in your righteous indignation about what you perceive to be the faults of others while your personal contribution to the community are Nothing other than Hate spewed on a Blog run by a retired politician who has no angst collecting his pension while spreading hate and discontent.

    Like most of the people that are criticized on this Blog, the legacy of Aaron will be remembered for decades for the work he did, the leadership he showed and the willingness to take a stand.

    This blog is an echo chamber that breeds everything that is wrong today; a complete unwillingness to take personal responsibility or action for the good of others.

  12. Mary Margaret, the comments are a reflection of his character or lack of!

  13. Shepley, fought for the people no doubt.

    As Cal Stated:

    “Shepley successfully took on Crystal Lake High School District 155 when its Board tried to build a football stadium near a city subdivision without obtaining zoning permission”

    We can’t forget the Crystal Lake South Bleacher Fiasco.

    Shepley allowed for a resolution to take place.

    Shepley, left an incredible legacy for our community and for his family.

    So for those of you slinging mud based on false facts, PUT A SOCK IN IT!

  14. – “Unlike all you keyboard warriors who hide behind your keyboards throwing trash at people who step out front to try to lead.“

    Hmmm … Wow, MMM, kind of like how YOU threw trash all those years under the screen name “INISH”?! Search for yourselves to see it to believe it!

    Rest In Peace, Mayor Shepley

  15. If I never attended a Crystal Lake City Council meeting, from whence did the photograph in this article come.

    And you certainly have commented without using your name.

    Welcome back.

    Finally, please point me to a more comprehensive obituary than this one.

  16. Cal, he closed east to north access to East street from Crystal Lake Avenue (just east of the metra tracks).

    There is a large concrete barrier there now.

    The claim was to stop people from queuing up on the tracks behind eastbound traffic waiting to turn north.

    The west side of the tracks, where the Willow Creek parking entrance/exit is still allows the same left-turn hazard on that side.

    You now have to travel one to four blocks more to access Poplar, Prairie, or East Street to get to any residence or businesses there.

    Mary Margaret, if you are referring to me, I can tell you that you get only one chance to be polite to my wife.

    What happens after that is on you.

    Are your people skills the reason you are “former” president of the C of C?

  17. Personally Shepley was a paper shyster who in my opinion was practicing as a hospital’s legal counsel because he’d get eaten alive if he had to represent multiple clients in a adversarial Court Room setting on a daily basis.

    Why anyone would want to be Mayor of any mid size municipality for twenty years and not seek higher office leads me to the opinion that he was profiting from holding the office focused on preserving his employers market share, financial interest and benefit in Crystal Lake intact by keeping Mercy Hospital and other competition out of the City among other things.

    He appointed six of the current City Council which clearly shows no dissention or difference of opinion and that leads to trouble where as one voice is only heard. His!

    Personally I didn’t like or respect him finding him to be obnoxious, brash, self centered, pompous and of extremely large ego.

    I’m however sorry for his passing and condolences to his family and friends.

    I’m sure he had his good points but unfortunately I never saw them!

  18. I wasn’t going to bother to comment but when I saw some of these self-righteous comments I decided to point out the fact that ‘People don’t become saints all of the sudden just because they die!’

    Look at the decline of Crystal Lake in the last 15 yrs!!!!

    If you’re okay with that, you’re part of the problem!

    Go pet your cats and leave the truth to us because obviously you can’t handle it.

  19. +1 Nob, there are so many other tax burden things done to the citizens of this community that I would need pages to type it all out.

  20. My house is about four blocks from you Cal.

    We met once in the 80s when we were both rising stars. 🙂

  21. I don’t personally know anything about the mayor, but I once did grand jury and was appalled by how much crime and drugs were coming out of Crystal Lake, relative to the other cities in the area.

    You wouldn’t know it from the outside.

    Some of it was nearly vomit inducing.

  22. Aaron was no angel.

    If anybody knew him u would understand.

    He was a bad person.

    Now crystal lake can now be a better city.

  23. Maule thinks she’s so damn smart, but the problem is she’s pretty dumb and doesn’t like it pointed out.

    Shepley was always big on LGBTXYZ nonsense.

    Why is that?

    Maybe Ms Maule could explain it.

    Btw Ms Maule it’s polite to say ‘Excuse me’ when you pass your sulfurish gas.

    Why don’t you erect a Shepley Shrine for your fallen hero.

    Make it 37 feet high.

  24. I personally confronted ‘hisdishonor” in 2015 about the drug house on Short Street in CL by the RR tracks.

    A lot of underage teen HS girls were getting strung out drugs and used by the Mexican drug gang that set up shop there.

    For reasons unknown, the place had a strange and permanent ‘no go’ crime sanctuary that went back many years.

    CLPD patrolmen and 1 detective personally told me the place was ‘off limits’ …. even for surveillance.

    Now how is that?!

    Judge Conrad Floeter told me the drug den was ‘beyond the reach’ of our state law ….. her tried to get the place shut down, but got nowhere fast.

    Nygren allowed all kinds of goings on

  25. Anyway, when I asked Sheply what the hell was going on, he told me “you have no jurisdiction in CL’

  26. Aaron was constantly running down this blog, but he was always on it.

    Go figure.

  27. Pam althoff will run for mayor now. That’s right u heard me!!!

  28. Pam “the big fat ham’ Althoff doesn’t live there, does she?

  29. Ellen Brady will run for Mayor now.

    That’s right, you heard it from me!!!

  30. Like yours Coonen?

    Shepley was a lying fake.

    He’ll go down as another Covid death.

    So he even has a fake death cause to match his whole life of fakery!

    Poetic justice or just plain old irony.


    And the people of CL are freed of a public leech!

  31. Why Do People Hate?

    Feel envy or want what the other person has.

    They may consider it unfair that someone has what they lack.

    Have contempt for another person or believe them to be inferior.

    Learn hatred from parents, their community, or other social groups.

    Are humiliated or mistreated by another person.

    May 13, 2019

  32. With all the media giving Shepley praise, it’s reassuring that there are people who really knew him for the two face he was!

    I hope Crystal Lake will finally have a true major who does NOT think of him/her self and how to profit from their position.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *