Longtime Illinois Route 66 advocate Marty Bilecki dies at age 86

Marty Bilecki, a longtime and active member of the Route 66 Association of Illinois, of Morris, Illinois, died Monday morning in LaSalle County, Illinois. He was 86.

A woman who answered the phone at UC Davis-Callahan Funeral Home in Morris said it was believed Bilecki succumbed from health issues.

News of Bilecki’s death broke Monday thousands of miles away, from the Czech Route 66 Association:

The Czech association also posted pictures of Bilecki when he visited Central Europe in 2010:

Here’s an excerpt from the funeral home’s obituary:

He was an avid lover of 50’s music, classic cars and Route 66. […]
Private services will be held for Marty with military honors held outside the funeral home. He will be laid to rest next to his son at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery in Justice, IL. A Celebration of Marty’s Life will be held at a later date.
As Marty would say “Keep Kruzin.”

Bilecki was born in Chicago, the son of the late Albert and Marie (Rzepnicki) Bilecki. He served in the Army, was a Chicago police officer for nearly 30 years and became police chief in Silver Lake, Wisconsin, for a few years before retiring in 1991. He also was a longtime member and president of the Polish American Police Association.

He is survived by his wife, Geraldine; three children and two grandchildren.

Route 66 Association of Illinois President Cathie Stevanovich emailed some memories of Bilecki:

Marty was very opinionated and wasn’t shy about sharing what our focus should be and what we needed to accomplish. He was generous with Zendenek from the Czech Republic and went to their conventions and was active with the group when they came every May and September providing an honor guard tour from Joliet thru Pontiac. I believe he even sold Zendenek one of his cars.
Marty Bilecki and I got along. He’d say his piece and I would listen. We both shared losing a son which is a sad link. His children and grandchildren will be there for Gerri his “bride.” Marty had no problem contacting whomever he felt he needed to – local or state – and at times was a fixture on Morris radio talking about the Mother Road.

(Image of Marty Bilecki via UC Davis-Callahan Funeral Home)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.