Bruce Deeming Cheadle (July 8, 1897 – Nov 19, 1990)
Bruce Deeming Cheadle was born in Lockport, Illinois on July 8, 1897. He was the first child born to Thomas Agnew Cheadle and May Lenora Deeming Cheadle. His brother Arthur T Cheadle was born three years later and his sister Anna May Cheadle was born seven years later.
Thomas Cheadle’s father had come to Lockport and worked in the canal boat yard before joining the Hiram Norton firm. Thomas Cheadle earned his living as a printer and newspaper publisher. It was in his father’s business, Will County Printing Co., where Bruce learned the printing trade.
Bruce Cheadle earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University. In 1926, he married Hazel Loomis, who he met in high school after she had moved to Lockport from Fennville, Michigan.
Cheadle taught in Chicago public schools for a total of 45 years, 37 of them (from 1928 to 1965) at Englewood High School where he taught printing and was supervisor of industrial arts. All the while he lived in Lockport and commuted into the city.
Commuting to and from Chicago didn’t limit his activities in Lockport’s civic affairs, however. One of his first important works for civic improvement was the Lockport Centennial in 1930. In the 1930’s Cheadle was a strong voice supporting a new City Hall and the improvement of Lockport’s sewers and roads. These improvements included paving New Avenue, which was the defunct streetcar line, to Lemont as well as the lighting of State Street. He was on the Lockport Zoning Board for 35 years.
He had a long career as an educator but was more famous as a civic leader in Lockport. He served as secretary of the Civic and Commerce Association of Lockport from its founding in 1935 until it went out of existence in 1980. The Civic and Commerce Association was Lockport’s predecessor to the Chamber of Commerce. He held a similar position from 1936 to 1980 and was a central force in organizing the Des Plaines Valley Improvement Association.
In the late 1940’s Bruce & Hazel Cheadle divorced and went their separate ways. However, they crossed paths again in the early 1960’s and remarried on November 22, 1962. They remained married for the rest of their lives.
One of Bruce Cheadle’s lasting legacies for Lockport is the saving of the building now known as Central Square. This had been the town’s central grade school for many years before closing in 1969. The School Board at the time planned to sell the land and demolish the building to make way for retail development. Bruce Cheadle was among the first group of citizens to spearhead legal action to stop the school board from being able to sell what had been designated “Public Square” in 1838. After years of legal fighting, the building was saved and renovated. It was agreed that the City, Township and Park District would participate in joint use of the building. In early 1981, the newly-renovated Central Square was opened.
Bruce Cheadle passed away on November 19, 1990 at age 93. Hazel Cheadle lived to be 104 years old and continued to live in the house they shared at 11th & Washington Streets (known as the Leon McDonald house) until she passed away on October 3, 2002.