Photography

Frank Floski Jr.

July 19, 1925 ~ December 28, 2023 (age 98) 98 Years Old

Frank Floski Jr. Obituary

Frank Floski Jr. - “Poppa” – 98, a shining example of the Greatest Generation and one of Ogle County’s oldest World War II veterans, died peacefully December 28, 2023 in the loving presence of his three children following a life dedicated to country, community, and family.

Frank was born July 19, 1925 to Frank and Sarah Floski in Ramsey, Illinois in his grandmother’s house, and raised in Moweaqua. His most profound memory was of the 1932 Moweaqua Christmas Eve coal mine explosion, which took the lives of 54 men – including two of his uncles, and the local Santa Claus; Frank’s father was one of just two men to survive the blast. The experience forever shaped Frank’s view of the importance of family and community, to which he remained steadfast.

At 17, Frank left Moweaqua - from which he had only previously ventured for a game of his beloved St. Louis Cardinals - to join the U.S. Navy. For World War II service as a Pharmacist’s Mate in Guadalcanal, Guam and other points in the South Pacific, Frank was awarded the American Area Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the WWII Victory Medal.

Under the GI Bill, Frank enrolled in Eastern Illinois University, where he earned a teaching degree and met Mary Louise Casteel; they married Aug. 20 1950. Frank earned his master’s degree in 1952; after 13 years of teaching, he and Mary Lou moved to Mt. Morris where they served as lifelong educators and busy community volunteers.

A 60+ year member of Disciples United Methodist Church, Frank served as Council Chairman; He also served as Chairman of Mt. Morris Senior Center, and treasurer of the Mt. Morris American Legion.

Frank is best remembered as principal of Mt. Morris High School, where he was credited with dramatically increasing science and math scores, taking Mt. Morris High School to the best in the region at that time. Frank was equally supportive of struggling students: We cannot count the number of former students who have shared that they simply would not have graduated without Frank’s encouragement and support. For the rest of his life, Frank recognized former students; those who were frequently sent to his office held a special place in his heart.

Family was Frank’s North Star: He oversaw the education of his children, tutored his grandchildren, and helped with countless wood-working projects, including his grandson’s Eagle Scout project. In retirement, he and Mary Lou often visited their youngest son’s family in the Pacific Northwest, where the grandchildren shared their love of the great outdoors. Back home, Frank and Mary Lou babysat, transported, and cheered on four active grandsons. A highlight of their retirement was a trip to the Holy Land, where they were baptized in the River Jordan. A lifelong learner, Frank was most proud that his children and grandchildren hold 14 college and post-graduate degrees. Frank managed his own affairs well into his 90s: At 95, he brokered the sale of his home, leaving his son, a lawyer, with little to do but drive him to the closing.

Those who will forever cherish Frank’s memory include: His daughter, Maralee; sons Doug (Betsy) Floski, Byron; Curt (Marci) Floski, Redmond, Oregon; grandchildren, Jacob Floski (fiancé Magdalena Lasek); twins Christian and Patrick (Tess) Floski; Ben and Jack Floski; and great-granddaughters Izabella, twins Samantha and Meghan, Jaydyn, Olivia and Piper. Frank was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, his son-in-law Joel Kaufman, his cherished granddaughter Abigail Floski, and close family friend Carey Burkhard.

Memorial service will be Saturday Jan. 6 at 11 a.m. at the Disciples United Methodist Church in Mt. Morris with the Revs. Marcia Peddisord, pastor, and Rodney Caldwell, pastor of the Mt. Morris Church of the Brethren/chaplain of Allure of Pinecrest, co-officiating. Full military rites will be accorded immediately following the service outside the church. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. at the church. Private family interment will be held at Silver Creek Cemetery. Memorials may be entrusted to the Floski Family Foundation C/O Stillman Bank, for an education scholarship in Frank’s name, or to any organization benefitting the people of Ogle County.

Despite the loss of our patriarch, it is by Frank’s humble example that we move forward, guided by the promise he made to himself as the only child in a family bereft by a Christmas Eve tragedy: “I’m gonna have a big family and I’m never gonna be alone.” And so, it was.

Anchors Aweigh, Poppa. You will forever be loved, admired and missed.

Finch Funeral Home and Crematory is assisting the family.

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