New Street Name Memorializes Aurora Deacon
Deacon Bruce Waterman Way
By Margarita Mendoza, Editor El Observador
April 27, 2023
AURORA—When Deacon Bruce Watermann passed away on Jan. 31, 2023, he left behind a legacy of service to his home city through his appointment as deacon of the Diocese of Rockford at St. Joseph Parish, here. 
On March 20, when he would have celebrated his 73rd birthday, Aurora residents gathered for an honorary street naming — a posthumous tribute to his work and celebration of his life. 
“Deacon Bruce means a lot for the community of Aurora, a lot for our residents — to so many people that he touched,” said Aurora mayor, Richard Irvin, before the ceremony to unveil the honorary name on the intersection of Plain Ave. and Sartor Lane. After 3:45 p.m., the street was officially called “Deacon Bruce Watermann Way.” 
“We are here to celebrate him by naming this street after him and making sure that his name and legacy go on for years and years to come,” Mayor Irvin added.
Father Matthew McMorrow, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, said that Deacon Watermann’s “activity was not only [at] the church but also out visiting prisoners, the home bound. [He was] well known and well-beloved at 
St. Joseph, St. Therese [of Jesus], Sacred Heart, St. Nicholas. Everybody knew him, and everybody loved him. A big personality.” 
Father McMorrow noted much of Deacon Watermann’s work was with the Hispanic community, especially the liturgical English tutoring he provided Spanish-speaking priests starting in 2010. He also provided spiritual direction and bilingual family counseling. 
Deacon Watermann “loved the Lord so much and he showed [it],” Father McMorrow said. “I’m so happy to be here with his family to give the dedication and recognize his service to the Church and his service to the city of Aurora.” 
The location of Deacon Bruce Watermann Way — right across the street from his home — is significant to the generations of his family who have lived and continue to live in the area. His son Robert Watermann shared that his great-grandfather owned the farm the house was later built on. The station for WKKD radio was built next door, where Deacon Watermann worked and met his wife, Jody. Robert and his family live at the other end of the street. 
Jody, married to Deacon Watermann for 50 “and a half” years, can now see the name of her beloved husband whenever she looks out her front window. “I’m overwhelmed; I just couldn’t believe it. It is wonderful,” she said.
Robert said that he had woken up that morning overwhelmed by the fact that “it was Dad’s birthday.” It was “the same feeling I had at his funeral. Memories bring us the peace and the strength that we need to get through.” 
He said that “my dad was passionate about ministry, serving the needs of others … always being available to help those in need.” He recalled that “dad would go to the park and pray. His missal was never far from him.” 
Deacon Watermann’s grandchildren, Abigail, a sophomore at Rosary High School, and Jackson, a seven grader at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary School, remembered when he used to pick them up every day from their schools and they would have ice cream. Then, “he shared the stories of people he had helped during the day,” Abigail said.
Around 60 people, including family, friends, members of the administration of the city of Aurora, members of the fire department (which he served as chaplain), among others, participated in the ceremony, singing “Happy Birthday” to the deacon. 
“The sky was clouded and just cleared up at that time,” Jody said. 
She then invited attendees to enjoy chocolate chip cookies, her late husband’s favorite, as well as molasses cookies that she had baked for the occasion.
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