Edward John Paul Sova passed away peacefully in the home he built on the cherished family farm, Shagbark Acres, on April 26th at the age of 87.
Ed was born in Joliet, Illinois to Walter and Bernice Rzewnicki Sova on November 5, 1933. He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years and friend of 81 (they first met in 1st grade at St. Thaddeus) Rita Wolz Sova, his daughters Laura and Mary Beth (Peter Handler), his cherished grandchildren Caleb (Shanna), Lee, Gabe (Aliya), Claudia, Austen, and Quinn, his sisters-in-law Toots and Shirley Sova, many nieces and nephews, and many good friends like fishing buddies Don Strle and Jim Trizna, farming partners Linda and Wayne Winkler, and caring neighbors Beth and Terry McDonald.
Ed graduated from Joliet Central High School in 1952 and Northern Illinois University in 1958 with a Bachelors in History — the first in his family to attend college. Ed often described his life’s work by saying simply that he “helped”: He helped serve America as a United States Marine and Oswego Volunteer Firefighter. He helped build America, constructing two houses for his family and working summers laying concrete all over Joliet. He helped teach America as a beloved and enthusiastic Social Studies teacher at Monge Jr. High School in Crest Hill. He helped coach America, leading the boys football and basketball teams and the girls softball team to many winning seasons. He helped govern America, serving 16 years as Seward Township Supervisor in Kendall County. And he helped feed America, buying a used tractor at age 47 and learning farming from his neighbor George Baker, spending decades planting and harvesting corn and soybeans on 130 acres.
Ed was an avowed lifelong Chicago Bears fan and was always up to play any type of game — whether it was three-legged races at one of the countless barn dances, picnics, and holiday celebrations at the farm or teaching his grandchildren to play poker when they were far too young. “Papa” was young at heart — he always joined in charades, gave geography, history, and NFL quizzes at family gatherings, and would play croquet, bocce ball, and act as Quarterback Johnny Unitas to call the plays in countless backyard football games.
Ed was an unrivaled storyteller and a fantastic cook, wielding a quick wit and a gentle strength. He was a feminist with a keen sense of social, racial, and environmental justice. His admiration for and awe of nature informed much of his beliefs and actions, and are values he shared with his beloved wife and passed to his children and grandchildren. Ed left the earth better than he found it.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings, Eleanor Martis (Richard), Wally Sova, Loretta Grachan (John), John Sova and more fishing buddies Bob Skul and Rich Laser. Special thanks to his incredible at-home care and hospice teams — especially the amazing, loving, and professional care of dear Nikky, Courtney, and Gus.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, May 1st at Blackburn-Giegerich-Sonntag Funeral Home (1500 Black Rd, Joliet, IL 60435) from 3pm to 6:30pm, with a short service at 6:30pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ed’s memory can be made to St. Judes Children’s Hospital or the American Indian College Fund.