Remembering Carl Schwebl

Opinion: Editorials


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What can you say about Carl Schwebl? That's how we started off an editorial about Carl back in 2007 when he retired from the real estate business and closed his office at Madison and Circle. And now seven years later as we mourn his death on Monday, we start the same way. 

What can you say about Carl Schwebl? He was, to us, among the ultimate Forest Parkers of a generation now about fully passed. These were the natives of Forest Park who reveled in its ways: the tightly knit community, the energy of boyhood friendships, living up and down Madison Street in its restaurants and bars, the ability to make a difference in a town you loved. Most simply, Carl Schwebl represented everything we love best about Forest Park.

As we said in 2007, he was full of spit and vinegar, an opinion on every subject of local interest, connected through business, marriage, politics and friendship to everyone in town. 

We've lost another of the holdovers, one of the bridges between the old and the new Forest Park. Carl was a guy who represented the virtues of the old Forest Park. Self-reliant, loyal, grouchy, funny and profane, a guy who could take care of himself in a fight, and who, if you were with him, would take care of you, too. 

We admired Carl, though, because he loved his town enough to look clearly at it. Never one to sugarcoat much, he came to realize that the Forest Park where he grew up was changing and not fully for the best. We recall a night walking across Madison Street with Carl when he told us he had nearly quit Forest Park a decade earlier, his frustration with the stagnation so advanced. Madison was on the skids. The political connections that had held the town together were now so inwardly locked that forward progress was stilled.

Carl could have walked away from Forest Park but he chose not to. Instead, quietly, an oddity for Carl, he joined a small group of locals dedicated to moving Forest Park and Madison Street forward in a progressive way and investing their private resources in bringing new life, different life, to the street and the town. And he took great satisfaction in watching the result.

Carl Schwebl's influence and energy are seen all over this town. All of us at the Review, though, would be remiss in not thanking Carl Schwebl, and the late Bill McKenzie, for their purchase of the Review decades ago when the unexpected death of the publisher left the paper at loose ends, its future as a locally owned institution in doubt. Carl and Bill were worthy caretakers, shepherding the paper into the loving arms of Bob Haeger, who with daughter Laurie Kokenes, set the paper up for a bright future.

Only a special town produces a fellow so remarkable as Carl Schwebl. He was Forest Park and Forest Park was deep in him.

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Jerri Darling from Peoria  

Posted: May 21st, 2016 9:42 PM

No one mentioned you were class president. Not many people would remember the wooden nickels, having to wear bonnets and jail in the street. I loved your family. Nee Jerry Rupp.

Glenn Garlisch from St. Charles, IL  

Posted: January 16th, 2014 2:00 PM

Well written article about Forest Park's beloved Carl Schwebl. We only have fond memories of listening to the stories of Forest Park back in the heyday. As great of a story teller as he was he always listened to others stories with a smile and shared enthusiasm, a rare gift. He loved Forest Park through and through and his passion and pride for the town was contagious. We'll miss him greatly but carry his words of wisdom forever. Thank you Carl, Glenn and Bridget Garlisch

The Historical Society of Forest Park  

Posted: January 16th, 2014 1:01 PM

Carl was influential in revitalizing the Historical Society of Forest Park. He was a Board Member and friend who will be greatly missed. His memories will live on in our Archives as we treasure a meeting between friends: Jerry Jacknow, Bud Schwartzbach and Carl almost two years ago. Good bye Carl, we won't forget you.

Jim Galloway from Rancho Cordova Ca.  

Posted: January 16th, 2014 12:45 PM

Carl was my friend in1939, and still my friend in 2014. We grew up toghter went our separate ways but still keep in touch.He was truly a wise man and good friend I will miss him. Rest in peace my friend.

Tom Mohr from Delavavan, Wi  

Posted: January 16th, 2014 9:25 AM

So sorry to hear this always a smile, hand shake and a good word. RIP Forest Park Friend.

David King from Forest Park  

Posted: January 15th, 2014 8:20 PM

I had the pleasure and honor to meet Carl almost 20 years ago. No pretense , No bull, The Real Deal ! That was Carl. Warm , funny , straight shooter , family man , Forest Parks Champion !! He will be sorely missed !!

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