Vytautas S. “Vito” Lukas, 83, passed away peacefully in his home on Dec. 24, 2021.
He was born on July 30, 1938, in Klaipeda, Lithuania, the second child and only son of Stasys and Ona (Gedvilas) Lukasevicius. He spent his early childhood in Karmelava, a rural village outside of Kaunas. When the Soviet army invaded Lithuania during World War II, his family fled westward, stopping in Germany, where they survived Allied bombings and found a temporary home in a displaced persons camp.
Vito and his family immigrated to the U.S. in 1951 and settled in Chicago. He attended Sacred Heart elementary school and Harrison Tech High School, where he was a member of the track team. He enjoyed singing in the school choir and Providence of God Church choir. He attended the University of Illinois, both the Navy Pier campus and in Urbana. He enjoyed dancing and performed with a Lithuanian folk dance group during his college days. He graduated with a degree in civil engineering and made his career at the Illinois Department of Transportation, where he worked for 35 years, designing many streets, highways, and interchanges in northeastern Illinois.
At IDOT, he met Diane Miles, his future wife. They were married in 1973 and were blessed with three children. Vito and Diane had both lived in a number of homes as children and wanted to find a good place to settle and stay. They found a perfect spot near Woodstock, and they, along with their dads, built the house in which they raised their children, various small pets, and flower and vegetable gardens for the past 43 years. He was a wonderful husband, dad, and poppa and will be terribly missed.
Vito enjoyed gardening, woodworking, cooking Lithuanian recipes (especially kugelis), making Lithuanian Easter eggs, road trips, scenic walks, and watching the Bears and the Bulls. He also enjoyed the family’s annual vacation up north on Blue Lake in Minocqua for a week of swimming, boating, good eating, and relaxing.
He is survived by his wife, Diane, and his children, Christopher (Janet) Lukas, Erin (Andy) Cadie, and Michael Lukas; grandsons, Noah and Lukas Cadie; sisters, Ruta and Virginia Lukas; sisters-in-law, Debbie (Bob) Thiersch and Janice (Paul) LoPresti; brother-in-law, Mike (Melanie) Diamond; and nieces and nephews, Elissa, Emily, Miles, Courtney, Anna, and Sarah. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister-in-law, Karen (Miles) Diamond; and nephew, Jared Diamond.
Visitation will be held at the Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home, 1211 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, from 4 to 6: p.m., with a prayer service at 5:30 p.m. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Northern Illinois Food Bank or JourneyCare Hospice in Barrington.
For information, contact the Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home at 815-338-1710, or visit www.slmcfh.com.