Louis J. Verchimak, “Lou”, was born November 2, 1937 to parents: Andrew and Emma (Marko) Verchimak in Joliet and passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 5, 2022 at his home in New Lenox with his family by his side.
Lou grew up on the Northeast side of town near the old penitentiary. It was at Heggie Field where Lou and his friends developed their athletic skills playing ball. Some of those friends from childhood still meet monthly for breakfast.
Lou was baptized, confirmed and was married at Holy Trinity Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church on Williamson Avenue. Trinity church was established in 1906 and served the community until a dwindling population forced the closing of its doors in 1984. It later re-opened to serve as a missionary congregation. Lou felt very privileged to serve the Trinity congregation by holding various church positions.
Lou attended Lincoln Grade School, Central Junior High School and Joliet Township High School and graduated with the class of 1955. Education was important to Lou and he was very proud of the academic reputation that Joliet Township held nationally. He attributed this to Joliet Township and Joliet Junior College sharing physical facilities. Joliet Junior College was established in 1900, the first Junior College in the country, located within Joliet Township until the construction of its own campus on Houboldt Road. Students at Joliet Township were able to receive instruction from teachers in both high school and college coursework.
As a student at Joliet Township, Lou excelled and was privileged to participate in both football and baseball programs. He was especially proud of the Joliet Township 1955 baseball team. With Lou at catcher, the team reached the final four of the Illinois State High School Baseball Tournament. In the opening round of the final four, the J.T. squad was able to come away with a 1 -0 extra innings win, riding the shoulder of standout pitcher Kenny Glasgow, a sophomore, who struck out 23 batters in this tilt. A record which stood for 50 plus years.
Lou continued his education at Joliet Junior College and then Lewis University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in Political Science in 1960. One week after graduation, he married Sharlene Freund.
Lou embarked upon a 34 year career in education. First as a teacher and after earning a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University, an administrator in Channahon School District #17. He retired in 1994.
Retirement from education didn’t mean Lou quit working. His next adventure was becoming the proprietor of Lou’s Sausage Wagon, where he met and befriended many fine people in the Joliet area. Lou always worked to provide for his family, who he was most proud of.
Lou married Sharlene on June 11, 1960. Together they raised two sons, Michael and Matthew. Lou’s parents taught Lou and his siblings traditions of the Slovak “old country”. This included entire family gatherings on Christmas Eve for traditional service, meal and festivities. Lou and Shar hosted these family gatherings for many years and felt privileged to do so. The family continues to carry on the Slovak family traditions.
Lou’s family and friends always looked forward to a phone call from Lou playing his harmonica – Happy Birthday, For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow, Anniversary Waltz, Wild Irish Rose, whatever the occasion or holiday, his phone call of a tune made everyone’s day that much brighter.
Lou was very proud to have served as a board member of the Will County Old Timers Baseball Association, whose goal is to promote youth baseball participation throughout the area.
Lou is survived by his wife of 62 years: Sharlene; son: Matthew J. (Jeanette) Verchimak; five grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; one sister, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his son: Michael Verchimak; parents: Andrew and Emma; a brother, a sister, a niece and one grandson.
Per Lou’s wishes, cremation rites have been accorded.
Lou wishes to thank all of his relatives and friends for making his life a happy one. In the meantime, in between time, keep the wind at your back. God Bless.
Family will receive relatives and friends for a memorial visitation on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. until time of funeral service beginning at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 508 N. Cedar Road in New Lenox. Interment will follow and Lou will be laid to rest at Woodlawn Memorial Park II – Hills of Rest.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made as gifts in Lou’s memory to the Will County Old Timers Baseball Association or to Trinity Lutheran Church.