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Former West Chicago alderman dies
By Catherine Edman | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/18/2008 3:22 PM

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Rose Volkert tried to quit smoking. Repeatedly.

Despite her determination, the nicotine addition continued to pull her her back into its grip.

After suffering a diabetic seizure June 20, doctors discovered the former West Chicago alderman had lung cancer in three places on one lung as well as a cancerous brain tumor, her husband, Roy Volkert, said.

She underwent surgery June 28 for the brain tumor, but never regained consciousness.

Volkert, 60, died Thursday night.

She was appointed as an alderman in December 1998, ran for election in 2001 and served until May 2005.

"She was so good," West Chicago City Clerk Nancy Smith said. "She always had the city's best interest in mind."

Roy said his wife likely would have run for reelection, but was diagnosed with breast cancer toward the end of her term and felt she couldn't give her full energy to the job while undergoing treatment.

"She spent six years there, and she really enjoyed it," he said.

That doesn't mean Rose stopped her involvement with the city when she stepped down from the post, though.

She continued a tradition started during her term.

Every Christmas she baked and delivered cookies, plus candy, to each shift at the police and fire departments.

The prognosis for treatment of her lung cancer wasn't promising, her husband said. If she survived the brain surgery, doctors gave her perhaps another three months. She already had surgery in January to remove a cancerous kidney.

"She made me promise if she didn't come out of the (brain) surgery and was in a coma we wouldn't do anything extraordinary," Roy said.

Smith said the couple celebrated their fortieth anniversary last November with a vow renewal ceremony and reception afterward that rivaled any modern wedding. And when Rose recently turned 60 in March, her husband rented out an entire restaurant to host a party on her behalf.

"She was a good all-around person," Smith said.

A memorial service is planned for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 27, at Williams-Woodward Funeral Home, 820 Pine St., West Chicago. Interment is Aug. 4 at Dixon Volkert Cemetery in Rosiclare, Ill.