Local officials and the community are mourning the death of a former Waukegan alderman, who was an NCAA wrestling champion and the longest-serving city council member.
Larry TenPas, 89, died on Tuesday surrounded by his loved ones at a hospital in Cook County.
TenPas was a former alderman for Waukegan’s sixth ward and the longest-serving council member for the city.
The City of Waukegan said in a statement that TenPas “will be missed.”
“Former Alderman Larry TenPas was a beloved Alderman for many years but was also a well known wrestler, teacher, and coach,” Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor said.
“He was a devoted husband and father to his three children. May he be reunited in heaven with his beloved wife. God speed Larry!” Taylor added.
The University of Illinois said that TenPas was a “very decorated champion” who wrestled for the university.
TenPas, who also wrestled for Waukegan High School, competed in the Fighting Illini wrestling program from 1954 to 1956.
During that time, he became a three-time All-American, a 1955 Big Ten Champion at 157 pounds and a 1957 NCAA Champion at 157 pounds.
He was a national runner-up at 167 pounds in 1955 and earned bronze at 157 pounds in 1954, school officials said.
TenPas was named the “Most Valuable Wrestler” at the University of Illinois in all three of his competition years.
“We will miss you Larry, may you rest in peace,” the Fighting Illini Wrestling program said.
He later joined the U.S. Army and served for three years from 1957 until 1959.
TenPas worked at Waukegan High School as a freshman and sophomore coach until 1967.
He was later promoted to head coach in 1967 and held the role until 1985.
Former Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham said he was saddened to hear of TenPas’ death.
“I will always appreciate Alderman TenPas’ guidance as I campaigned through the 6th Ward and his institutional knowledge on the Waukegan City Council. My thoughts and prayers are with the TenPas family,” Cunningham said.
Current Waukegan Sixth Ward Alderman Keith Turner said TenPas was a friend and a mentor who he will “always remember” and “will miss very much.”
A funeral visitation and service are set for March 16 at the Waukegan High School Washington Campus.