Building commission director Mel Rull dies
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org October 21, 2013 12:22PM
In this January 1999 photo, Mell Rull (left) discusses the plans for the Center for Juvenile Detention under construction in Joliet with project architect Ken Stromsland. | File photo
Updated: November 23, 2013 6:12AM
JOLIET — Mel Rull, the longtime executive director of the Will County Public Building Commission, died Monday morning of complications from pneumonia, county officials said.
Rull, 83, of Joliet, held the building commission post for 21 years and oversaw construction of the Will County Jail addition and the juvenile jail, renovations at the county owned Sunny Hill Nursing Home and maintenance at the Will County Courthouse. He took the building commission job as a second career after retiring as a telephone company plant manager.
Will County Board member “Banana” Joe Babich, D-Joliet, who was elected chairman of the building commission board on Oct. 11, said he was shocked Monday to learn of Rull’s death.
“We were supposed to have a meting next week,” Babich said. “He was always there for me and he taught me a lot. He was a happy-go-lucky guy.”
Babich said Rull’s death is a big loss for the county, especially with a new wave of construction and remodeling projects coming up as the county grapples with its space crunch issues.
“We were looking forward to working together with him,” Babich said.
Joe Ward, who is the newly elected treasurer of the building commission board, said he arrived early for meetings just so he could have coffee with Rull.
“He was a very interesting guy and he had a great background,” Ward said. “He took the public building commission to heart, and he wanted to the best for the county.”
Ward, a retired treasurer for International Operating Engineers Local 150, said Rull also was very knowledgeable about all of the projects the building commission handled for county government.
“He was always on top of things. Any time there was a question, Mel knew the answer. That was very impressive.”
Former Will County Executive Joe Mikan, who also has served as a project manager at the building commission, said he knew Rull for more than 20 years.
“He was a wonderful man,” Mikan said. “He was generous and he loved Joliet and he’s going to be missed. He was just a great guy.”
The building commission was created in the 1960s to fund large-scale public works projects through bond sales that do not require referendum.