Trust the Torch!

Gerald John Soulak

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Gerald John Soulak, 78, Wonder Lake, formerly of Antioch, died Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012.

He was born Aug. 8, 1934, to Harold and Mary Soulak. 

He grew up with his older brother, Joe, younger brother, David, and younger sister, Margie, in Adams, Wis., on his family’s 17-acre homestead. He worked for his family’s coal and ice business and later at the family-owned Adams Erection Co. 

He was a proud member of Ironworkers Local No. 1 for more than 50 years. 

He traveled extensively throughout the tri-state area as an ironworker and welder. He helped change the Midwestern landscape with the buildings he constructed. He helped construct countless skyscrapers in Chicago, along with buildings at the University of Illinois-Springfield and Holiday World amusement park in Santa Claus, Ind. 

He also was an avid fisherman who fished all over Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. He passed his love of fishing on to his daughters and then to his many grandchildren, who have fond memories of fishing with him. 

Although he was a private person by nature, Jerry was famous for his funny jokes and stories. He was proud of his Polish heritage. Even though he lived most of his life in Illinois, he remained a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan. After he  retired, he spent time tinkering around in his garage and visiting casinos all over the Midwest with his beloved wife, Marlene. 

He was gifted with the ability to work with his hands. He helped build Centennial Park in Antioch and devoted countless hours as an active member of the property committee at Grace Lutheran Church in Richmond. He always was ready to lend a hand to anyone and will be remembered for his generosity. 

He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law, brother-in-law and most importantly, a trusted and reliable friend.

Survivors include his wife; five daughters, Theresa Soulak, Christine (John) Appel, Shelly Bird, April (Bob) Andrews and Jeri Amos (fiance, Ethan Caldwell); nine grandchildren, Jeremy (Aubrey), Travis and Matt (Skye) Appel, Bobby and Chelsie Bird, Jake and Adam Gaus and Luke and Kate Amos; and four great-grandchildren, Emma, Isabel, Olivia and Alisabeth Appel.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, David Soulak; a sister-in-law, Judy Soulak; and two sons-in-law, Bobby Bird and Mark Amos.

Services were Oct. 22 at Grace Lutheran Church, Richmond. 

Memorials can be made in his name to the Property Committee, Grace Lutheran Church, 6000 Broadway St., Richmond, IL 60071.

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