John Thomas Thompson, Jr., 85, of Danville, passed away at 1:08 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 at Presence USMC in Danville surrounded by his family. He was born Feb. 28, 1931, in Westville, the son of John T. and Mae (Bubelis) Thompson, Sr.
He married Josephine "Jo Ann" Ann Sakotnik on Oct. 22, 1955, in Westville, and would be celebrating 61 years of marriage this year. She survives and will greatly miss him.
Also surviving are his daughters, Deborah (Timothy) Strako of Seatac, Wash. and Christina (Robert) Dietzen of Danville; grandchildren, Amanda (Dylan McKenzie) Widell, Matthew (Eryca) Strako, Joslyn Dietzen, and Aleksas Dietzen; great-grandchildren, Abigail Widell, Grady Widell, and Esther Strako; step-great-grandchild, Emani Nelson; brothers, Carl (Pat Stitt) Thompson of Oakwood, Faustyn (Shirley) Thompson of Georgetown, and Iyrann (Hazel) Thompson of Stantonsburg, N.C.; sister, Adry Ann Swaney of Westville; brother-in-law, William Sakotnik of Danville; special niece, DiAnn Cottle; and many other nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, and sister, JoAnn Shapuras.
John graduated from St. Mary's Grade School in 1946 and Georgetown High School in 1950. He worked for the Norfolk & Western Railroad (formerly the old Wabash Railroad) as a switchman and retired in 1981 after 26 years. He also managed Shields Restaurant in Hegeler/Home Gardens and worked as a part-time constable for Vermilion County many years ago.
John was a life member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Westville, Knights of Columbus, Westville American Legion Post #51 (61 years), the 40 & 8 (60 years), life member of United Transportation Union, and proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy for four years during the Korean Conflict. He was a past member of the Moose, Navy Club, and Elks.
John was a life-long member of the Democratic Party, being a precinct committeeman for 55 years, and Vermilion County Democrat Chairman for 10 years. He received several awards and accolades for his service to the Democratic Party. During his term as chairman, he was instrumental in electing county board members to change the board from Republican to Democrat.
John loved sports and cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals. In his earlier years, he played and managed Twilight League Ball. He excelled in football and basketball in high school setting records in both sports. He coached American Legion Youth Baseball.
John enjoyed golf, gardening, and most of all his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They always made him feel better and lifted his spirits.
John liked participating in the Georgetown Fair, entering rabbits as a youngster and flowers as an adult. He supported St. Mary's Catholic Church Labor Day weekend festivities and enjoyed selling many raffle tickets. John volunteered delivering Meals on Wheels through CRIS Senior Services for many years. He catered special occasions with his wife and family. He had a giving heart and helped many in his life's journey. John touched many lives and will be missed by all who knew him.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, Sept. 24, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 231 N State St, Westville. Fr. Timothy Sauppè will officiate. He will be laid to rest at Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Westville. Military Honors will be performed by Westville American Legion Post #51. Visitation will be held Friday, Sept. 23, from 4-8 p.m. at Sunset-Urbas Funeral Chapel, 414 S. State St., Westville with a rosary being held at 3:30 p.m. prior to visitation.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to St. Mary's Catholic Church or Schlarman Academy. Please join his family in sharing memories on his Tribute Wall at www.sunsetfuneralhome.com.
Published on September 21, 2016