Ed Karasek, 95, has served as the Berwyn Park District commissioner for 50 years. This milestone marks him as the longest serving park district commissioner in the state of Illinois.
Karasek was appointed as the commissioner in 1966 and states he has no plans to retire anytime soon. “Berwyn is a good community, and I felt I had to give back,” he said. “It’s a labor of love, but I still like it. You have to want to give back and spend the time to do it. It’s important to have a community you enjoy living in.”
Ed has been a part of the Berwyn community since his family moved from Cicero in 1955. At the beginning of his career as commissioner, Berwyn had only one park. After decades of hard work and dedication, Karasek has been able to open 13 more parks to the community, including Karasek Park, which was named after him in 2012.
Jeff Janda, Park District Executive Director, reflects on the type of commitment Karasek has for the job as commissioner. “I’ve never heard of anyone hitting 50 years, and that demonstrates a love and passion for the Park District,” he said. “Ed personifies what a commissioner should be. He sets aside non-important things for the real mission. He puts kids first and has had a positive impact on Berwyn.”
There is still a lot left on Ed’s agenda. He says he is currently working on turning a small tree lot near the Liberty Center into a playground. The Park District is also aiming to involve themselves more with early childhood education. Karasek is looking to provide space for Berwyn South School District 100 programs in the Proksa Park activity center as well as Freedom Park.