Russ Slinkard

May 20, 1937 ~ April 25, 2021 (age 83)

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Russ Slinkard passed away on April 25, 2021 in Joliet.  He was born May 20th, 1937 on the family farm in Jackson, Missouri to Marvin and Mariam Slinkard.   He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother Donald (1986).  He is survived by his loving wife of 33 years Stella, and five children, Bryan (Robin) of Joliet, Lisa (Tim) Sidles of Oswego, Regina (Greg) Orasco of Shorewood, Shannen (Ubaldo) Rojas of Joliet and Shelby (Chad) Mc Carty of Jefferson City, Missouri, 12 grandchildren…Matt and Dan Sidles, Morgan Orasco, Maddy Slinkard, Lillian Ballinger, Alexis Libbert, Alaina Klempke, Cyrus Angel, Reyna, Stella and Aden Guzman, and Nathan Rojas.  He is also survived by his brother Bill (Charlotte) of Cape Girardeau, Missouri and sisters Janis (Lewis) Ticer and Robyn (Lynn) Morton, both of Jackson, Missouri along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Russ earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois in 1960.  He then graduated from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston with a Masters in Divinity in 1963.  He spent about 12 years pastoring in the Methodist Church and after long and careful consideration decided to venture into the business world.  He joined Illinois Bell Telephone Co. in 1969 retiring in 1995 when the company was known as Ameritech, he became President/CEO of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce…a position that he loved and held for 19 years.  Upon his retirement and to recognize his dedication to the Joliet Community, a plaque renaming the building in his honor was place in the front of the Russ Slinkard Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce Office Building.

In addition to his time as a local businessman, Russ spent many hours volunteering for various organizations in the area.  Some of the recipients of his time and talents are, but not limited to United Way of Will County, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Will County CED, Junior Achievement, Silver Cross Hospital, Joliet Junior College, Rotary International, University of St. Francis, Easter Seals, Boy Scouts, Rialto Board, YMCA, First Midwest Bank. The Joliet community also recognized the contributions of Russ in many ways including The Friends of Education Award, George Sangmeister Medal of Excellence, Joliet Hall of Pride, Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award, Roger Osman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service, De LaSalle Award from Lewis University and so much more.

When once asked what is a champion, Russ said “One who fights on behalf of others, one who stands up for what is right, an advocate of highest excellence.” Russ will truly be remembered as a champion for the City of Champions.

He was a diehard St. Louis Cardinal fan his entire life and luckily passed that trait onto his kids.

His most important place in life was that of a husband, father, grandfather, sibling and son.  Family was everything to Russ and he lived that until the end.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, April 29 from 2:00-8:00 PM at Blackburn-Giegerich-Sonntag Funeral, 1500 Black Road, Joliet.  Service will be on Friday at 11:00.  The service will also be live streamed, link can be found at  and click on the video link.  If you care to make donations in Russ’s name, please do so to Grace United Methodist Church in Joliet..

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Russ Slinkard, please visit our floral store.


April 29, 2021

2:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Blackburn-Giegerich-Sonntag Funeral Home
1500 Black Road
Joliet, IL 60435

Funeral Service
April 30, 2021

11:00 AM
Blackburn-Giegerich-Sonntag Funeral Home
1500 Black Road
Joliet, IL 60435

Video is available for this event


Grace United Methodist Church
1718 Avalon Ave, Joliet IL 60435

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