John LaPlante, a longtime city employee who served as the first commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, died Saturday at 80 after testing positive for the novel coronavirus less than two weeks earlier.
The son of a Cook County judge and the head librarian for Chicago Public Schools, LaPlante was a “municipally-minded” Roseland native who cared deeply about his city and its government, according to his daughter, Leslie.
LaPlante fell ill shortly after returning from a recent trip to Egypt and Jordan with his wife, Linda, who didn’t contract the virus.
This is really a loss. In times like these, his wisdom would have been valuable to city administrators, and especially the school system with the changes underway with at-home learning given the school closures. It's insufficient to type it, but my thoughts are with his family.
Many years ago I met with LaPlante about a "No Parking" sign that didn't protect the path on the west end of Eugene Field Park. He denied my request that the sign be moved to protect the path. I wrote a scathing letter in rebuke.
He agreed to meet with me at the path, on the east side of Avers Avenue, just south of Foster. After seeing what I was talking about he arranged to have the sign moved and the "No Parking" zone expanded. It's still in the correct position today.
Those of us who use the Eugene Field path to pass thru the park appreciate his fix.
Wow. That's sort of a nice eulogy in a way for a public servant Bob. Agreeing to meet you, and then revisiting his decision is really cool.
My condolences to his family.