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Aurora businessman John Lies dies

Aurorbusinessman John Lies. | Sun-Times MediFile Photo

Aurora businessman John Lies. | Sun-Times Media File Photo

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Updated: February 7, 2013 6:33AM

AURORA — For decades, if you were looking to find John Lies, all you had to do was wait around a while at the West Plaza Barber Shop.

“He was in there every other week, like clockwork,” said his nephew, Joe Lies.

And not just for a hair cut — he checked up on business, too.

Lies, 66, died suddenly Tuesday. The Aurora businessman is best known for taking up the work of the family business — Arnold Lies Co., the property management company founded by and named after his father, who built West Aurora Plaza in 1962.

Lies was a lifelong resident of Aurora. He graduated from West Aurora High School, then Northern Illinois University. Shortly after, he returned to Aurora and to the family business.

“His first endeavor, and one I think a lot of people will remember, was managing a sandwich and ice cream shop by the name of the I’scream Pub in West Plaza,” said Joe Lies. “From there he helped manage the entire business.”

Lies would go on to expand West Plaza, attracting national retailers like Walmart, Safeway and Blockbuster. He later oversaw the decision to sell much of the property in 2008.

The Arnold Lies Co. continues to operate many of the outlying retail buildings and the executive center, and Lies, though semi-retired to Grenelefe, Fla., continued to work in the family business until his death.

Outside of the office, Lies was dedicated to a number of social and philanthropic organizations. He was a Rotarian for 37 years and served as the president of the Aurora Noon Rotary Club from 1987 to 1988.

“I just remember how warmly he welcomed me into the club and got me active,” said current Rotary President Tom Guzzardi. “He had the most amazing memory for people. He could meet you once and remember your name, your spouse’s name and everything else.”

Lies also served as chairman of the board of Rush-Copley Medical Center from 2002 to 2007, and served as a board member for First American Bank of Aurora, Merchant National Bank, the Greater Aurora Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Easter Seals, Rush-Copley Foundation, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the Aurora Country Club.

Visitation will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Daleiden Mortuary in Aurora. The funeral will be at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the Daleiden Mortuary.

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