Police Chief Bob Polston, Who Watched the Fox River Grove School Bus Being Crushed by a Metra Engine, RIP

What a horrible memory for Bob Polston to have to carry for the last over twenty years of his life.

Robert Polston

Fox River Grove Police Chief was standing in front of the Police Station with a radar gun to measure the speend of the Metra tain has it sped through town.

And, he witnessed the horrendous crash, the news of which spread worldwide.

The Chief was one of those who traveled to Springfield with parents of teens killed in the crash and local officials like Village President Bill Yocius successfully lowering maximum train spped limits from 70 to 50 miles per hour.

Here is the Chief’s obituary:

Robert “Bob” H. Polston, 75, of Cary passed away on Sunday, November 13, 2022.  He was born in Chicago on June 19, 1947, to Howard and Catherine (nee Campanella) Polston.

Bob attended St. Tarcissus grammar school and graduated from St. Vincent DePaul Seminary in 1965. He worked for the family business, Campanella and Co., delivering fresh produce until he was drafted into the Army in 1968. Bob served as a military police officer in Vietnam and was stationed at White Sands Military Base in New Mexico.

Bob met the love of his life, Paula Schmitz, at a talent show she was in at St. Anne’s Nursing School.  It was love at first sight. They were married in 1972 and recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Bob was a police officer for Fox River Grove and served as Chief of Police from 1981 until his retirement in 2007.  He enjoyed working on the marine unit for McHenry County from 2008 until 2018.

Once his children were grown, Bob’s grandchildren became his main hobby. Getting them on and off the school bus, taking them on ice cream runs and cheering them on at their sporting events became his norm. With a head full of trivia and love of Jeopardy, games with the grands would often get competitive.

Bob was not only grandpa to his own grandkids, but he became a grandpa figure to so many in the neighborhood and through volunteering in the school districts and AWANA Club.   He truly loved people and knew how to make everyone feel special.  He may have been a man of few words, but Bob made up for it in action.   A man of integrity, he had the biggest heart, was generous with his time, and he loved well.   Let’s not forget the amazing cheesecake he could make!

Heavily connected to his community, Bob was involved in the Cary Grove Lions Club, Shop with a Cop, Living Grace Community Church, and always lent a hand where needed.

Bob leaves behind his wife, Paula; children, Kimberly (Paul) Holder and Mark (Jennifer) Polston; grandchildren, Nate (Ashley), Noah, Isaiah, Luke, Jacob, and Daniel; and great grandchildren, Kenzi, Killian, Eliza, and Memphis.  He is further survived by his siblings, Rita (Dan) Patt, Teresa (Larry) Micek, Mary Kay (Jock) Young, Gigi (Bernie) Litecky, Bill (Pat) Polston, and Thomas Polston; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Catherine “Betty” and grandparents, Rocco and Catherine Campanella and Howard and Mary “May” Polston. 

Visitation will be held on Friday, November 18, from 4 until 8pm at Davenport Family Funeral Home, 419 E. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake.   A funeral service will be held on Saturday at 11:30am at Living Grace Community Church, 1500 Silver Lake Rd., Cary, with a visitation starting at 10:00am.  Burial will follow at Windridge Memorial Park, Cary.


Police Chief Bob Polston, Who Watched the Fox River Grove School Bus Being Crushed by a Metra Engine, RIP — 5 Comments

  1. Bob will be missed, he was a good neighbor and a great family man.

  2. We worked many patrol shifts on the Marine Unit together as our retirement jobs.

    He had an amazing knowledge of local history and was a great friend.

    I first worked closely with Bob after that tragic 1995 Fox River Grove Metra Commuter train vs School bus crash where the 7 students were killed and 21 were hospitalized.

    As you said, he was the Chief but witnessed the crash so he asked our department to investigate to avoid conflict.

    During that time I learned what a humble, kind man he was .

    Later working with him on the River I learned so much about him and his kindness.

    He was truly a nice man and great public servant.

    He will bd missed.

  3. Bob was always very helpful and responsive while he was chief and thereafter.

    It was a very pleasant experience to know him.

    Eugene A. Brown

  4. I had the great privilege of knowing him.

    He was an elder at Living Grace Church.

    I remember when he got adult baptized.

    A very good (Christian) man.

    He will be missed, dearly.

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