William Schulze, 75, of Elburn dies while crossing Iowa river during severe flooding

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team and Cate Cauguiran WLS logo
Wednesday, June 26, 2024
West suburban man dies in Iowa flood waters
William Schulze of Elburn died as he tried to cross the Little Sioux River and was swept away by the current, the Clay County Sheriff's Office said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A man from the west suburbs man died after being swept away in flood waters in Iowa on Saturday, according to authorities.

William Schulze, 75, of Elburn tried to cross the Little Sioux River in his red Ford F-150 when he was swept away by the current, according to Clay County Sheriff Chief Deputy Zach Larsen.

ABC7 Chicago is now streaming 24/7. Click here to watch

His son Brian Schulze said his father grew up on a farm in Bensenville, and then worked as an account manager at Central DuPage Hospital before retiring. In his retirement decided to "go back to his roots" by buying and operating a small "farmette" in Elburn.

He said the reason Schulze, who was better known as Bill, was in Iowa this past weekend was to attend the Red Power Round Up, where he wanted to check on some international harvest tractors.

Brian Schulze said the family only found about his father's death Monday and are "shocked" by the news. They said they are heartbroken over Schulze's loss.

Brian said his father will be remembered as "a beloved family man who loved his wife Sharon, his two sons Brian and Charles, his daughter Veronica and his eight grandchildren."

He said his father was a Northern Illinois University alum and played clarinet for the school's band. He maintained his love of music by playing for the Kishwaukee Concert Band.

"There wasn't any big formality to Bill, he just flowed; he just functioned and you just knew right away that he was a friend," said Larry Apperson, friend and president of the Kishwaukee Concert Band. "If you were around on break during rehearsal, you know, and if you passed by Bill, he was usually telling somebody about the latest tractor show he went to."

Apperson said Bill Schulze played clarinet in the non-profit, volunteer community group band. He also said that above his love of music and tractors was Schulze's love of his family.

"Bill was very tuned in to his family and the importance of them. And I know he was very proud of all of them," he said.

His family said he loved to watch his grandchildren play baseball.

Funeral plans are still being finalized.

Over the weekend, parts of the Midwest experienced extreme flooding.

A witness told first responders that Schulze's truck floated out of sight and disappeared to the east of the river near 240th Avenue in the 3400-mile.

When the truck was found in a tree line, authorities determined Schulze had died, according to Larsen.

First responders did not immediately try recovery efforts due to the dangerous situations.

As local authorities monitored the flood conditions over the weekend, first responders were able to extricate and recover Schulze's body on Tuesday.

Schulze had been reported missing in Illinois on Sunday, Larsen said.

Apperson said he finds comfort in Schulze spending his last days surrounded by the people and things he loved most.

"I like to think of him now riding along, unobstructed on an Oliver tractor and everyone chasing after him because they want a ride," he said.

The Kishwaukee Concert Band plans to hold a concert in his honor later this year.