Joe Waicukauski

Joe Waicukauski

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CARBONDALE — Joe Waicukauski, 96, passed away at 10:34 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Parkway Manor in Marion.

Joe was born Sept. 3, 1919, in West Frankfort, to Joe and Elsie (Dregansky) Waicukauski.

He married Mary Catherine Bigler on Feb. 27, 1943, in St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Carbondale, where they remained lifelong members. Mary passed away Mar 25, 2013 shortly after their 70th anniversary.

Joe grew up on a small farm near Sesser. While showing his pigs at the county fair in the early 1940s, he met the love of his life, Mary. Although Joe was an only child, Mary had 14 siblings.

He was a farmer in his early career and worked several years at the Prairie Farms Creamery in Carbondale until leaving in 1966 to take over the Dairy Queen. He operated the Dairy Queen in Carbondale until he retired. The Dairy Queen is still run by his son, Mark.

Joe’s greatest accomplishment was his children. Although Joe only graduated from high school, he and Mary encouraged their children to do well in school. All seven of his kids went to college. His competitive spirit was passed on to all of his kids. This was evident in the almost daily pinochle games. They were not for the fainthearted.

He loved sports. He watched the St Louis Cardinals any time they were on television. He attended high school basketball games and softball games of all sorts until he was no longer able to leave the house. He also was a Saluki fan. He helped coach softball and baseball teams in which his children (both boys and girls) participated.

Joe loved to garden and in his retirement spent most of the day outside working the garden. He continued this until his late 80s. His produce and flowers were extraordinary. He exhibited at the Du Quoin state fair and always came home with many “Best in Show” and other ribbons.

He helped out people where he could and accepted people for what they were. His faith was a big part of his life. He loved his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and always enjoyed their visits.

He will be loved and greatly missed by his family and friends.

Survivors include seven children, John (Shou Ming) of Tualatin, Oregon, Ronald (Toni) of Indianapolis, Mark (Cindy) of Carbondale, Rose Mary Arditty of Somerset, New Jersy, Shirley (Ron) Nowlin of St. Elmo, Carol Arterberry of Edinburg and Susan (Jim) Seubert of Edwardsville; 16 grandchildren, Jerry Waicukauski of Tualatin, Oregon, Jim (Miriam) Waicukauski of Bel Air, Maryland, Christine (Edward) Gotham of Taiwan, Nichole (Jeremy) Dilley of St. Elmo, Jessica (Curtis) Pool of British Columbia, Canada, David (Sarah) Arterberry and Wolfgang (Gina) Arterberry, both of Springfield, Mary Ann Arterberry of Kincaid, Victoria Arterberry of Edinburg, Jennifer Waicukauski of Mill Valley, California, David Waicukauski of Bloomington, Indiana, Lana Waicukauski of Indianapolis, Andrew Waicukauski of Longmont, Colorado, Scott Waicukauski and TJ Daily of Carbondale, and Erin (Mathew) Frohning of Ingraham; 14 great-grandchildren, Joseph, Annabelle, Katherine, Alexandra, Rocco and Augusta Waicukauski, Aylen Arterberry, Hugo Gotham, Dylan and Braden Dilley, Carter and Kacey Pool, Jennifer Cox and Mallory Frohning; cousin, Marie (John) Tagliaferro; sisters-in-law, Betty Bigler, Lou Bigler, Bobby Gooden, Ruth (Floyd) Gooden, Jean Gerstenberger; brother-in-law, John (Karen) Bigler; and multiple nieces and nephews on his wife’s side.

He was preceded in death by his wife and his parents.

Services for Joe Waicukauski will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 8, in St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Carbondale, with Father Bob Flannery officiating. Interment will follow at Egyptian Memorial Gardens in Energy. Visitation will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, at Crain Pleasant Grove-Murdale Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.

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