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Former Mayor Art Schultz dies at 78

Art Schultz

Art Schultz

A former long-time mayor of Joliet, who retired earlier this year, passed away Saturday evening, Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante confirmed.

Arthur “Art” Schultz, 78, who was mayor of Joliet for 20 years, had been in hospice care for the last few days, Giarrante said.

Schultz battled throat cancer and had his vocal chords removed in 1993 during his first term as mayor, but continued to be an effective leader in the state’s fourth-largest city, Giarrante said.

“He did a terrific job,” Giarrante said Saturday evening. “It’s a big loss.”

The procedure impaired his speech, but prosthesis allowed him to speak in a hoarse whisper. After the surgery, his re-election campaign slogan was “Actions speak louder than words.”

Schultz served five terms as mayor and did not seek re-election earlier this year, noting that he wanted to spend more time with his seven grandchildren. Throughout the summer, his health had continued to decline.

Schultz is credited with leading Joliet through something of a renaissance, due largely to two riverboat casinos, built in the early 1990s, and a booming housing market. The casinos pumped money into the city’s coffers and allowed Joliet to transform its downtown, adding amenities including a minor-league baseball stadium.

The Schultz family is active is politics in Joliet and Will County. His daughter, Nancy Schultz Voots, is the Will County Clerk and his son, Arthur Schultz Jr., serves on the Joliet Park District.

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