Philip Bader Elfstrom

July 14, 1928 - May 28, 2017

PHILIP B. ELFSTROM, 88, of Batavia, IL passed away on Sunday, May 28, 2017, at his Town Center apartment at the Holmstad in Batavia, IL.  He was born on July 14, 1928 in Evanston, IL, the son of Philip R. Elfstrom and Iras (Bader) Elfstrom.  Phil attended High School in Wheaton, IL and then went on to attend the University of Kentucky where he was a star football player.  He later settled in Batavia, IL in the late 1950s where his parents had lived years before.  After he moved to Batavia, Phil opened Bader Publishing which was a print shop at the corner of Main Street and Batavia Avenue.  He also operated an art gallery where local artists could exhibit their works.  It was the first art gallery in Batavia.  Shortly after moving to Batavia, Phil became active in the community and the political arena.  In 1969, Phil was elected Assistant Township Supervisor and became a member of the Kane County Board.  Two years later he became Chairman of the Kane County Board and held that position until 1982. Phil then moved to the Forest Preserve Commission when he was elected Forest Preserve District Chairman, and ultimately worked for the National Association of Counties in Washington D.C., where he was an advisor to President Ronald Reagan. 

During his time in politics, Phil had the vision and imagination to make things happen.  He envisioned bike trails instead of abandoned railroad tracks along the Fox River, dreamed of a baseball stadium for a minor league team and acquired land to build the stadium where the Kane County Cougars settled in 1991, and arranged to have the Fabyan Parkway Bridge constructed when another bridge over the Fox River was needed.  He was also responsible for the development of Settlor’s Hill Golf Course, and the acquisition of the Kane County Government Center property.  During all of this time, Phil never forgot his hometown of Batavia.  He was responsible for the beautification of South Batavia Avenue when he planted trees and flowers along the avenue and personally took the responsibility to water the trees and flowers.  He also worked on the restoration of many downtown buildings by creating the Batavia Downtowners, an organization set up by Phil and other downtown business owners in the 1970s to bring new life to the business section of Batavia.  In addition, Phil restored five of his own 19th century buildings along River Street, including an old dairy where he lived on the upper floor.  His upper apartment became a gathering place for his annual Canoe Race parties on his large deck above the Fox River.  In 1982 Phil was named Citizen of the Year by the Batavia Chamber of Commerce, and in 1985 Phil helped to fund a scholarship to benefit students and further their dreams of a college education.  Phil leaves a legacy benefitting everyone in Batavia and all of Kane County.  He will be greatly missed.

Phil is survived by his loving sister, Kathryne Margaret McGuigan; a nephew, Frank “Sandy” McGuigan; dear friends, Cathy Youssi Searl, Terry and Jan Bond, and Josh Bond, all of whom were like family; and many other friends, including Bobette Keasler, who was Phil’s longtime secretary and good friend; and Eldon Frydendall and Mayor Jeffery Schielke, who were there for Phil, especially during the last years of Phil’s life.

Phil was preceded in death by his parents, Philip R. Elfstrom and Iras Elfstrom; a brother-in-law, Frank McGuigan; a niece, Kathryne McGuigan Sheldon; his long time dear companion, Peg Bond, and many close friends.

The family, and especially Cathy Searl, would like to thank Covenant Care at Home, Beth and staff, and all of Phil’s caregivers for the wonderful care, friendship, love and support given to Phil over the last few years, and to the Hospice care team of Covenant Care for their love and support during the last week of Phil’s life.  You were all a Godsend.  The family would also like to thank the Holmstad Community for all of the kind assistance and friendship given to Phil over the many years that he resided at the Holmstad. 

Visitation will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, 2017 at Moss Family Funeral Home in Batavia, IL.  Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, June 5, 2017 also at Moss Family Funeral Home in Batavia, IL, where he will lie in state from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service.  The Reverend Michael D. Rasicci of Calvary Episcopal Church will officiate.  Interment will be at the West Batavia Cemetery, Batavia, IL.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Covenant Care Hospice Foundation, 3755 E. Main St., Suite 165, St. Charles, IL 60174. 

Guest Book

  • Barbara A. Kalina Some people are larger than life. Phil takes his rightful place among those icons of American ingenuity and generosity. Anyone who heard his booming voice will long remember what a boon he was to our city and county...and nation.
  • Don Kramer Thank you Phil for all the good things you have brought to the community of Batavia and Kane County. May God bless the family and friend of Phil.
  • Mary johnson and Andrea. Goudy Phil will be missed by the community. I have known Phil since I was a little girl. His office Bader publishing was across the street from my dads drug store.Johnsons drug store. He always called me little Mary. I have many good memories of Phil. Andrea and I have lots of memories at the canoe race parties RIP