Kromelis moved to Chicago with his family from Lithuania or Germany as a kid and grew up above the bar his parents ran on Halsted. It was near a ballpark, which one is still a mystery. His parents sold the tavern and moved to southwest Michigan when he was about 19. But Kromelis stuck around in Chicago. He tried a factory job but didn’t like it. He got a peddlers license and sold jewelry on the street. That’s when he began wandering the Loop.
“There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s not mentally ill. He just likes walking. It’s that simple. My husband couldn’t figure it out, but he accepted it. That’s Joe. He loves the city,” his sister-in-law, Linda Kromelis said.
|Joseph Kromelis, second from left, stands with his now-deceased siblings in a family photo. From left are: John, Joe, Pete, Bruno, and Irene. (Photo provided by family)|
|September 19, 2019|
|Rich Kolar writes: I ran into him today. Joe Kromelis is doing fine. We talked for a minute or so in front of the Cultural Center. A nice intelligent man who graciously let me take his photo.|
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.