Ken Maraballa, a foundation in the village of Mundelein, passes

A prankster, a family man and a father figure to others.

Ken Marabella was all of that, but he was also deadly serious when there was work to be done.

It all came together as Mundelein’s first village administrator, from January 1975 to April 2005.

“A lot of what you see in Mundelein is based on the efforts of Ken Marabella,” said Ray Rose, Mundelein’s police chief from 1992 to 2013 and currently chairman of the Mundelein Fire and Police Commission, as well as deputy -president of Mundelein Elementary. District 75.

“He is responsible for practically everything that happened in Mundelein,” Rose said. “His goal was to upgrade, if you will, Mundelein – make it a better community, make it a diverse community that contributed to the success of Mundelein. The subdivisions that were developed, how they were developed – and developed from appropriate manner” occurred under his responsibility.

Marabella, 72, of Wadsworth, died on Friday. He is survived by his wife, Sheila, and his sons, Mike, Tim, Patrick and Danny.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at Marsh Funeral Home, 305 N. Cemetery Road, Gurnee. Interment will follow at 1:30 p.m. at Ascension Catholic Cemetery, 1920 Buckley Road.

The comments about Marabella’s impact on Mundelein, just two years after earning a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Denver, and the applause came early and often.


“Mr Marabella hired me in 1995 and is a legend in Mundelein,” said Cynthia Peart, formerly Rose’s assistant and assistant to Mayor Steve Lentz and current Village Administrator Eric Guenther. “We stand on the shoulders of giants like Mr. Marabella.”

Census figures show Mundelein’s population roughly doubled during his tenure as village administrator, nearly reaching its most recent figure of around 31,560.

“Ken’s legacy is not just the creation of new brick and mortar structures and subdivisions, but the heart and soul of the community that focused on a safe community, a community that benefited from professional services, and he was always talking about a community that was a great place to work and live and raise your family,” Rose said.

Still, Mike Flynn, deputy village manager of Marabella from 1988 to 2005, said Marabella reflected the thinking of the time by focusing on improving infrastructure. During his tenure, two fire stations were built, including the department headquarters at 1000 N. Midlothian Road and a new police station at 221 N. Lake St.

“He was really in a period of sort of shifting public investment to police and fire (departments), greatly improving our capabilities,” Flynn said. “It was a very difficult thing to do. Mundelein is not a very wealthy community with a huge tax base, but he was able to guide the council and work with the council to secure these much needed investments.”

Marilyn Sindles, who worked with Marabella first as a member of the village council and then as mayor from 1989 to 2005, recalled their work in meetings with other Lake County mayors to bring a path of double-track railway and a Metra station in the village.

“We were kind of like the reps from the Lake County area,” she said. “We started attending these meetings when people thought it was a crazy idea. And now we have a nice station in Mundelein, and other communities too.”

Lentz noted the residential development that was put in place during Marabella’s tenure: Fields of Ambria, Cambridge Country, Cambridge North and Cambridge West.

“He oversaw Mundelein’s growth to a large extent,” the current mayor said. “Several neighborhoods were built under his supervision, hundreds and hundreds of houses.”

North Barrington village administrator John Lobaito, twice hired by Marabella – first in 1985 for the building department and again in 2002 as director of community development – ​​believed that Marabella’s work as a that founding member of the Joint Action Waterway Agency, which had access to Lake Michigan’s water supply from Mundelein and other municipalities, “kind of defined his career.”

This and the expansion of sewage treatment facilities under Marabella’s leadership helped facilitate growth.

“Without those two things, Mundelein wouldn’t be the community it is today,” Lobaito said.

Recalling his debut with the village at 25, Lobaito called Marabella “a bit of a father figure too”.

He joined several others in recalling Marabella’s humor and, as Flynn said, his “warm laugh” filled the party hall.

“Ken always found ways to make work more enjoyable and I really never forgot that part of him. He had a great sense of humor. It makes me laugh today,” Lobaito said.

Sindles added that, although Marabella is dedicated to the village, “his number one priority was as a father and husband. I’m still in shock.”