North Judson residents are mourning the sudden death of a lifelong resident and longtime public servant. Town Marshal Doug Vessely died Friday morning at a South Bend Hospital following a brief illness. Family members, friends and town officials lined the streets for a hastily-organized homecoming escort late Friday afternoon, led by the Starke County Sheriff’s Office.
“We as a council are all brokenhearted,” says Town Council President Wendy Hoppe. “It’s a big change for us, and it will be a real challenge to fill his shoes. The only thing we ask is that we can stand by the family to secure and help them as much as we can.”
The procession came down Lane Street to Sycamore and turned left onto Keller Avenue, with a final pause in front of the North Judson Police Department before heading to Braman & Bailey Funeral Home, where arrangements are pending. Flags outside the building are at half-staff in memory of Vessely. He’s served as town marshal for at least the past nine years and previously owned Doug’s Restaurant and Lounge in North Judson.
The North Judson Town Council is scheduled to meet in regular session Monday evening. As of Friday afternoon, Hoppe did not know if that meeting would go on as scheduled.