Benedict J. “Ben” Tekel, 92, of Joliet passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family and entered Heaven’s gates on August 11, 2022.
Born in Joliet, Illinois on February 15, 1930, Ben attended St. Cyril & Methodist School and Joliet Catholic High School. Ben served for the United States Army in the Korean War and earned the Korean Service Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars and the United Nations Service Medal. Ben worked and later retired from the E J & E Railroad.
Ben grew up on the east side where he made many lifelong friendships. To those that knew him back in the day, he was a humble athlete. After becoming a “Mibster” champion at marbles, Ben was honored to meet Lou Boudreau. Ben was a die-hard White Sox fan. His passion was baseball. A lifelong member of the Eastside A.C., and a well-known local baseball player, he played in countless games bringing home many trophies. His “fields of dreams” were playing at Belmont and Heggie Fields.
Ben’s greatest love was his family. He married the love of his life, Marie (Umek), on September 18, 1965. He cherished his daughters, welcomed his sons-in laws, and later being called “grandpa” was the closest thing to perfection. He was his grandchildren’s biggest fan attending every activity they were in. His unconditional love will always be remembered. Ben loved his “never-ending” cup of coffee and a dozen donuts were nearly never enough.
Left to treasure his memory is his loving daughter, Mary (Norm) Nemanich and beloved son-in-law, Dwayne (late Kathy) Giaudrone. Adored grandpa to Natalie, Nicholas, Nathan, and Nolan Nemanich and Michael, Matthew, and Megan Giaudrone. Also, numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Marie (2021), his daughter, Kathy (2022), his parents, Carl and Mary (Popik) Tekel, his brother, Edward (late Elizabeth) Tekel, a brother in infancy, his in-laws, Anton and Mary (Levstik) Umek, brothers-in-law, Rudy Umek, and Anthony (late Glyndal).
Family will receive relatives and friends for a visitation on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. until time of closing prayers beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Tezak Funeral Home, 1211 Plainfield Road in Joliet. The funeral will then drive in procession for a Mass of Christian Burial beginning at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary Nativity Catholic Church, 706 N Broadway Street in Joliet. Interment will follow and Ben will be laid to rest at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery.