John A. Staszak passed away at Sarah Bush Lincoln on Thursday, January 12. Services honoring his life will be held on Monday, January 16 at 4pm, at Swengel-O’Dell Funeral Home in Neoga, with visitation prior to the service from 2-4pm.
John was born in Chicago on January 21, 1931 to John and Jesse Plebanski Staszak. He was a graduate of Tilden Technical School. He married Geraldine Brink on May 17, 1952 and they enjoyed over 64 years together. He served in the US Army and 15 years in the Illinois National Guard, attaining the rank of Captain. He was an expert in artillery. John started his career at the Lakeside Press, RR Donnelley, in Chicago at the age of 17, and was instrumental in developing the RR Donnelley Plant in Mattoon in 1968. He retired after 41 years. In their retirement, John and Gerry enjoyed many years of traveling the world, dancing, and living at their home on Lake Mattoon. John was active as a leader for Junior Achievement, helping young people learn the world of business, and also a former member of the Knights of Columbus and the Mattoon Elks Club. John loved animals and nature, fishing, boating and the outdoors, and spending time with family and his many friends from RR Donnelley and the Lake Mattoon Community. His hobbies included restoring antique cars and he was a master at home improvement projects.
John is survived by his wife Gerry of Neoga, five children; John Alan Staszak, Cindy Staszak, Kathleen Breen and husband Jeff, Sandy Staszak and husband Howard Hunt, Karen Rose and husband Tom, sister Martha Kowaleski, grandchildren: Christopher Senteney, Joel Wilcox and wife Chris, Jason Staszak and wife Jenny, Gabe Wilcox and wife Jackie, James Wilcox, Michael Breen and wife Mindy, Regina Staszak, Dawn Yonhka, and Skylar Staszak, and 15 great grandchildren, sisters-in-law Joan Aniol and Sandy Brink, many nieces and nephews and his beloved dog Oreo. He was preceded in death by his parents, mother and father-in-law John and Gertrude Brink, his brother Chester Stasack and wife Jeanne, two sisters Edna Roszkowski and husband Joe, Alfreda Knetl and husband Joe, sister-in-law Loretta Shinko and husband Joe, brothers-in-law Bob Kowalelski , Richard Aniol and John Brink.
In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s honor may be made to one of his favorite charities- Paralyzed Veterans of America or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.