Alex “Al” John Soley Jr. Obl. OSB, age 70, born into eternal life on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.
Al was a proud Oblate of the Order of St. Benedict in which he associated with the Benedictine community to enrich his Christian way of life. He was also a Third-Degree Knight of Columbus. Al started and finished his working life as a barber, with a long career as an engineer in between, primarily at his Minooka based company.
Al is survived by his loving wife, Bonnie (nee Driscoll) Soley; children, Aaron (Sara) Soley, Rachel (Abdul) Uqdah and Timothy Soley; grandchildren, Alexis (Jimmy) Waters, Amira Uqdah, Aliyyah Uqdah, Abdul Uqdah Jr., Juliet Soley and Annalise Soley; siblings, Maryann Kulik and Audrey (Richard) Peceniak; siblings-in-law, Paul Driscoll, Vincent (Annette) Driscoll, and Pam Garbarino; goddaughter, Nancy (Chris) Bebar; nieces and nephews, David (Katie) Kulik, Keli (Larry) Serven, Sean (Liz) Garbarino, Becky (J.P.) Rasmussen, Jessie (Jay) Marsett and Kristy (Matthew) McDonald.
Preceded in death by his parents, Alex Soley Sr. and Mary (nee Mitok) Soley; brother-in-law, Nick Garbarino; nephew, Richy J. Peceniak Jr.; and numerous extended family members including a very special aunt, Eva Iverson, who he always thought of as a second mother.
Al’s love for music began in the fourth grade when he started with the trumpet in the Joliet Catholic Grade School Band, and he continued to play trumpet until senior year at Joliet Central High School. Throughout his music career, Al was in many local bands: Daddy Claxton; Diamond Reo; Boot Hill Band; Harvest Moon; Frigo, Soley & Tezak; and the Jib Brothers.
One of Al’s many gifts that no one can deny was his intellect. Though he was sometimes shy to admit it, he was a proud member of Mensa, the high IQ society. Despite this, after graduating high school in 1969, he took an unconventional path through college. He began at NIU before transferring to LSU. He then took an extended break to concentrate on his career and family before finishing his degree at North Central College in 1989, completing his 20-year plan.
When contemplating retirement, Al knew he wanted to continue pursuing his first passion, music, as well as his first career, barbering, but also needed to nourish his spiritual side. He fulfilled this need by becoming an oblate with the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago. Al’s retirement plans were derailed in February 2020 when he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a malignant brain cancer. Al fought this battle courageously and was even able to accomplish another life goal when he wrote and published a book in the midst of his cancer treatment.
Al’s passions in life were his faith, his family, and his music, but his love for Schlitz Beer was pretty close to the top. So in memory of Al, “Let’s get together with a glass of Schlitz!”
A big thank you to Lightways Hospice in-patient unit for their compassion and professional care of Al during his time there. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Lightways Hospice, 250 Water Stone Circle, Joliet, IL 60431 in Al’s name would be greatly appreciated.
A celebration of Al's life will be held on Saturday, January 15, 2022, with a visitation at Tezak Funeral Home, 1211 Plainfield Road, Joliet from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. then driving in procession to Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church in Homer Glen for a Rite of Christian Burial to be held at 12:00 noon. Interment to follow at St. Mary Nativity Cemetery in Crest Hill.
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