Joseph John Kowsky, age 67, of Morris, Ill. passed away peacefully Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 at his home due to complications from Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD).
Joe was born in Chicago to Estelle and Joseph Kowsky on Oct. 6, 1946. He graduated from St. Patrick’s High School (Chicago) and entered the De La Salle Christian Brothers. He remained in the seminary for three years. Joe received a Bachelors degree in Spanish from Lewis University with one year spent in Mexico City at the Universidad Ibero-Americana. He worked two summers in Jalapa, Mexico through a graduate program at Southern Illinois University. He received a Masters Degree in School Psychology from Illinois State University and a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Lewis University.
Joe began his career in education as a Spanish Teacher at Costa High School in Galsburg, Ill. in 1969. He continued his career with Joliet Dist. 86, Grundy County Special Education Coop. as a teacher at Mazon High School, and Aurora Dist. 131. He retired from his position as a Bilingual School Psychologist with Aurora in 2003 due to the progression of FTD.
Joe married Lindy Schorie on April 7, 1979. They had three children Jennell (deceased), Joel, and Gail.
Joe enjoyed the outdoors, especially canoeing and cross-country skiing. He started the Morris Marathon Canoe Club and coached several members to state and national championships. The club was deeply involved in the conservation of watertrails in Northern Illinois. Joe was especially passionate about the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which ran past his backyard. He shared his passion for the outdoors with others in the community by teaching canoeing to the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts. Following his daughter’s death from leukemia, he became a volunteer at One Step Summer Camp, a camp for children with cancer and leukemia, where he enjoyed his time at camp assisting with activities on the waterfront. Joe was known for his love of John Deere tractors and enjoyed attending farm toy shows with his family. As an avid photographer, Joe documented his travels from the ancient ruins in Mexico, to camping and canoeing in Quetico Provincial Park, to excursions with friends and family.
Joe is survived by his wife and two children, Joel of Arlington, Va. and Gail of Bloomington, Ill. He is also survived by his brother-in-law Lou Ebrom nieces Mary Lou (Fred) Pochowicz, Lois (Tom) Janisch, nephews Bernard Ebrom, Brian (Cecilia) Ebrom, and his great and great-great nieces and nephews. Joe was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Jennell (1986); sister Mary Ebrom; and niece Bernadette Zeigler.
In 1971, as a conscientious objector, Joe wrote that “life is a short and sacred time. It should be spent in helping others, not by making their situation worse. It should be spent in healing others, not in harming them. We have to learn how to love. We can not learn to love by destroying and causing pain.”
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Joe’s name to Northwestern University Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, FTD Research, Searle Building, 11th Floor, 320 E. Superior Chicago, IL 60611, Attention - Kevin Connolly or online at http://www.giving.northwestern.edu/nu/CNADC .
Visitation will be held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 600 East Jackson Street in Morris on Thursday February 20, 2014 between the hours of 4:00PM and 8:00PM. Funeral services will follow Friday morning at 10:30AM in the church, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated with Reverend Ed Howe, CR officiating. Burial will be in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Morris.
Pallbearers will be: Ryan Stephens, Ben Josefik, David Buckley, Nicholas Josefik, Brian Danek, and Matt Wright.
Friends may sign the online guest book or send private condolences to the family by logging onto: www.ReevesFuneral.com
Funeral services and arrangements have been made under the direction and care of Reeves Funeral Homes, Ltd. in Morris. (815/942-2500)