ROCK FALLS – Donald “Smoky” Stachowiak, 77, of Rock Falls, went to heaven, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, with his family by his side.
Born July 3, 1936, in Peru, he was the son of Charles and Valaria Stachowiak. Beginning their amazing 46-year love affair, he married Patricia Cassel on June 17, 1967, at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Peoria Heights.
Smoky was a graduate of LaSalle-Peru High School, receiving his BS at Illinois State University, and earning his MS from Northern Illinois University. He launched his teaching career at LaSalle-Peru High School, and then spent 31 years educating at Rock Falls Township High School. Smoky taught biology and driver’s education, as well as coached freshman football and basketball. After retiring in 1994, he continued to be a dedicated Rock Falls Rocket fan.
Smoky was a member of St. Andrew Catholic Church in Rock Falls. Over the years, he was very active in the community including serving on Toys for Tots with Whiteside County Marine Reserves, and on the Elks Scholarship Committee.
Even with all his accomplishments, his greatest joy in life was his family. Once he became a grandfather, “Poppa” felt truly blessed, as his grandchildren completed his life.
Survivors include his wife; three daughters, Amy (Coby Leuschke) Stachowiak of Fort Collins, Colo., Anne (Chris) Fisher of Houston, and Sara Blackert; three treasured grandchildren, Emily and Paige Blackert and Avery Fisher; two sisters, Denise Hasty of Cape Coral, Fla., and Diana (Don) Doty of Montrose, Colo.; many nieces and nephews, along with countless friends and family whom were blessed to know him.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and his sister, Delores Michalak.
The Marine Corps hymn states, “Ever look on heaven’s scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.” As a proud former member of the U.S. Marine Corps, and an active member of the Sauk Valley Detachment of the Whiteside County Marine Corps League, Smoky is their finest guard. Semper Fi.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at McDonald Funeral Home in Rock Falls. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday St. Andrew Catholic Church in Rock Falls, with Monsignor Thomas Dzielak, officiating. Interment will be at a later date in LaSalle-Peru.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to St. Andrew Catholic Church in Rock Falls.
Visit www.mcdonaldfuneralhomes.com to send condolences.