Cover photo for John Smagacz's Obituary
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1964 John 2023

John Smagacz

January 20, 1964 — July 3, 2023

John E. Smagacz, an Extraordinary Everyday Hero

Let's celebrate the remarkable life of John E. Smagacz, a guy whose big heart magnetized all those around him. Sarcastic and clever, his humor lit up rooms and warmed hearts. He could turn a mundane moment into a belly laugh, filling your day with a little extra sunshine.

John was a steadfast worker, pouring his heart, soul, and an uncanny amount of dedication into every job he tackled. His work ethic was like his coffee –always strong and no-nonsense.

The love story of John and his treasured wife, Paula, could rival any romance novel. He wasn't just her husband, but also her cheerleader, promoter, and biggest fan. This dynamic duo carved out a life of adventure and affection together.

Born and bred in the Windy City, John's Chicago roots ran deep. Each visit back to his hometown wouldn't be complete without indulging in a feast at White Castle, Nicky’s, Rainbow Cone and Freddie’s. Food was an ingredient of his heritage.

A proud Air Force veteran, John served our country with unwavering commitment and courage in several deployments. His patriotism wasn't just in his heart but worn on his sleeve.

John's family remains as a vibrant testament to his life -his loving wife Paula (Stoltz), his supportive sisters Mary Ross (Chuck) and Barbara Spence (Don), his brother Stephen, father-in-law LaVern, sister-in-law Peggy (Patrick), along with a troupe of cousins, nieces, and nephews. He now joins his parents Emily and Stanley, mother-in-law Darlene and his brother Michael in a peaceful slumber.

Our dear John, born in 1964 to Emily and Stanley, was the 'baby' of the family, and he never let us forget it. He would jokingly assert his 'adopted' status to add a touch of comic relief to family gatherings.

Growing up around the Chicago Midway Airport area, John was practically a native navigator of the city. An enthusiast of buses, trains, the 'L', and planes, it was clear from an early age that he was destined to explore the world, making his later life in the Air Force seems like a perfect fit.

John wasn't just a man of many places but also many trades. His early life was a tapestry of various jobs, each adding a unique thread to the complex, beautiful pattern of his character.

It was in Wisconsin that he met his future wife, Paula. From early in their relationship, he saw the potential in Paula's culinary career and became her rock of encouragement. Their journey took them across states and islands, with Paula perfecting her chef skills and John accumulating W2s like badges of honor. He held fondly his memories of the many lives who touched him in the islands and in the states.

John was more than just an uncle to his many nieces and nephews –he was their hero, their friend, their guide. Even in the midst of the pandemic, he found ways to keep the family close, joining regular Sunday night zoom calls, sharing links, offering comments, and staying involved in their lives. His presence will be dearly missed.

With a love for hockey and a die-hard devotion to the Cubbies, John made sure to enjoy the lighter side of life. He was generously funny, often wearing a smirk before delivering a zinger.

Our hearts ache at his departure. John's family and friends are left with a John-shaped hole in their hearts, but his spirit and laughter will echo in their lives forever. John E. Smagacz, the kind-hearted, hard-working, loving family man has left our world a bit too soon, but he will never truly be gone. His love, laughter, and legacy will live on in the stories we share, the memories we cherish, and the love he gave us.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Smagacz, please visit our flower store.

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