Celebrating the life of Donald "Dima" Kowalczyk
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Don was born in Peru on October 21, 1934 to his parents John and Helen (Gorczyca) Kowalczyk. He later married the light of his life, Lucille Monterastelli, on January 25, 1958.
While growing up in Peru, Don began his education at St. Valentine Grade School, and later graduated from LaSalle-Peru High School in 1952. For higher education, he started by attaining an associate’s degree from LPO in 1954, then moved on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science from Illinois State University, and finally finished by earning a Masters of Education from the University of Illinois. While in school and during his early career, Don served in the US Army Reserves.
“Dima” began his teaching career at Mendota Northbrook Junior High School, where he taught math and coached basketball for 21 years. He then left the teaching profession to move closer to home and become the Superintendent of Peru Public Works. A natural people-person, Don built lasting relationships with countless numbers of people and businesses over his 32 years as superintendent.
As a man who always made a selfless effort to be involved with his community, Don engaged in multiple activities during his free time. He served the Peru Boys Little league as president and a coach, volunteered with Special Olympics, and spent time as Peru’s recreation director. He was also a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and CSO.
Don was a gifted sportsman, noted by his all-state accolades in both baseball and basketball while at LP High School. He pitched collegiately for ISU’s baseball team, where, “They never saw his fastball coming.” As far as fandom goes, “Dima” routinely followed the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, and White Sox over the Cubs. He also was, along with his wife Lucille, the biggest fan at the sporting events and activities of his grandchildren. Outside of sports, he also loved to go fishing and was an avid wood-worker in his spare time.
He was known by many names, including Don, “Dima,” “Jimmy,” “Dad,” and “Papa.”
Don was preceded in death by his wife Lucille, 5 brothers and 3 sisters, and his parents.
He is survived by his children Steve (Meg) Kowalczyk, Scott (Michael Stalker) Kowalczyk, Karen (Glen) Mudge, Ritchie (Janeen) Kowalczyk, Kim (Lee) Ceresa, Nancy (Mike) Carter; 9 grandchildren, Jenna, David, Justeen, Jake, Kylee, Karch, Luke, Ronnie, and Brett; four great-grandchildren, Ella, Emmy, Jameson, and Jordy.
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