West Chicago Voice - About Us : The voice of West Chicago, Illinois - digital local news - for locals by locals .

Ralph Adam Kozlowski Obituary

West Chicago Voice - The voice of West Chicago, Illinois - digital local news - for locals by locals . Free obituary notices , the local hometown Newspaper- the West Chicago Voice
Sharing is Caring, WeGo!
Ralph Adam Kozlowski
August 18, 1941 — May 12, 2024

Ralph Adam Kozlowski, age 82, of Warrenville, IL, passed away unexpectedly the morning of May 12, 2024. Ralph was predeceased by his parents Anthony “Tony” and Genevieve “Jean”, his older sister and seven brothers. He is survived by his loving wife, Billie Sue (née Atkins), his six children, Rick, Kelley Gillenwater (John), Kevin (Christy), Rachel Rowley, Jessica Oster (David), Reyna, and his sister Carol Brancato, all whom he loved dearly. He is also survived by thirteen grandchildren, four (soon to be five) great-grandchildren, and many nephews and nieces.

Born on August 18th, 1941, some of Ralph’s earliest memories were watching the WWII victory parade in Chicago and crawling into the coal chute to help feed the stoker on the family’s coal furnace. After the war, his father moved the family to West Chicago. As a child and teenager, he and his siblings worked many years at St. Andrews golf course. He once caddied for Jessie Owens. Ralph was drafted in 1963 and served in the 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army until his honorable discharge in 1965. In those two years he trained as an airborne infantryman and mechanic, met General Westmoreland, and once even jumped from an airplane alongside Rod Serling.

Ralph began working as a laborer at Elliot Construction in 1965, and within two years he had earned his Cement Mason card and became a crew foreman. He retired 47 years later from the same company while mentoring many others. Ralph had a reputation as one of the best cement finishers in Chicagoland. His artistic craftsmanship can be seen at notable locations such as The Chicago Botanical Gardens, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Brookfield Zoo.

Billie Sue met Ralph at West Chicago’s Railroad Days festival in 1965. After a brief courtship, they married in February of 1966. Their first child was born in the middle of the blizzard of ‘67. Central DuPage Hospital was a little country hospital, short staffed, and everyone was snowed-in. So what did Ralph do? He went to the kitchen and began cooking short-order for the hospital staff and patients. Years later there were four more children. Two generations later another child joined the household and was well loved.

Ralph’s hobbies included fishing, gardening, and being an artist. He loved all types of fishing, whether on a pond, river or lake. His favorite fish were walleye and bass, but he probably enjoyed the comradery while fishing with family and friends even more. There was no medium untouched as an artist. He painted in oils, acrylics, and watercolors. He sculpted in concrete and stone.

Family and friends meant a lot to Ralph, and both circles were large. He lived by example, and he chose to try to be the best at whatever he was passionate about. His selflessness at challenging times left an example and legacy for others. Ralph lived a good life, and he was a good man.

Visitation will be held on Friday, May 17, 2024 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Norris-Segert Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 132 Fremont Street (One block north of Washington St. & Main St.) Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at St. Irene Church, 28W441 Warrenville Rd., Warrenville, IL at 10:30 a.m. Interment to follow at Assumption Cemetery in Wheaton.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the family to support their adopted great-grandchild Reyna’s future education. For information 630-231-0060.

Leave a Reply