Popelka Sr., Ge­orge M.

Chicago Sun-Times - - DEATH NOTICES -

The story of Ge­orge be­gan on Fe­bru­ary 10,1924 as the son of Martin and Mae Popelka of Cicero, Illi­nois. Ge­orge had a younger brother (Martin) who al­though de­ceased, was a physi­cist and spent his ca­reer in the aero­space and de­fense in­dus­try. As a young man , Ge­orge was very ath­letic and achieved dis­tinc­tion on the base­ball field as a pitcher for the Ber­wyn Post 422 Amer­i­can Le­gion Base­ball Team dur­ing 1941, when his team made the fi­nals of the Le­gion Se­ries played in San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia. He also was an ac­com­plished wrestler, win­ning the ISHA 155-pound mid­dleweight class ti­tle dur­ing 1941 in Cham­paign, Illi­nois, rep­re­sent­ing J. Ster­ling Mor­ton High School. Dur­ing that year, Ge­orge won his weight class with a se­ries of 15 straight vic­to­ries. Dur­ing 1943, Ge­orge en­tered the United States Navy dur­ing World War II and served in the Pa­cific The­atre aboard an LST, Tank Land­ing Ship, as a Bo­sun Mate Sec­ond Class. Af­ter the war, Ge­orge re­turned to Cicero, Illi­nois where he both at­tended and played foot­ball for the Pan­thers of Mor­ton Ju­nior Col­lege. As a strong be­liever in ed­u­ca­tion, Ge­orge ob­tained his As­so­ciates De­gree from Mor­ton Ju­nior Col­lege and then fur­thered his ed­u­ca­tion by earn­ing a Bach­e­lor of Science De­gree from the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico in 1950. Hav­ing earned his Bach­e­lor’s De­gree, he sub­se­quently pur­sued and re­ceived a Master of Arts De­gree from North­west­ern Univer­sity in 1954. Ge­orge pur­sued a ca­reer in ed­u­ca­tion be­gin­ning as a Sixth Grade Teacher at the Tobin School within School Dis­trict 111, Bur­bank, Illi­nois. Af­ter be­gin­ning his ca­reer, he con­tin­ued to serve for thirty-five years both as a teacher and then ap­pointed prin­ci­pal, for the new Owens School in 1956. Af­ter that, he was moved to the John Fos­ter Dulles School in 1960 now Lib­erty Ju­nior High School, and fin­ished his ca­reer in 1983 as prin­ci­pal of the Frances B. McCord School. One of his ca­reer high­lights was meet­ing his fu­ture part­ner in life, Ms. Mary Ann Busch. Upon grad­u­a­tion she also be­gan her ca­reer as a pri­mary school teacher in School Dis­trict 111, Bur­bank, Illi­nois where she met her fu­ture hus­band Ge­orge, to whom she mar­ried and spent sixty-seven (67) won­der­ful years to­gether. They be­came en­gaged on May 9, 1951, Mary Ann’s birth­day and had one son, Ge­orge, Jr. Af­ter re­tire­ment both Ge­orge and Mary Ann were very ac­tive and cel­e­brated their fifti­eth (50) wed­ding an­niver­sary by re­new­ing vows aboard the Paul Gau­guin off the coast of Bora-Bora. They would walk ev­ery­day at the Or­land Mall when able and af­ter their daily ex­er­cise, they would sit down and have a treat. Once com­pleted Ge­orge would talk with his fel­low mall-walk­ers while Mary Ann would go shop­ping. Ge­orge also was an avid golfer. His proud­est mo­ment on the golf course came on Oc­to­ber 4, 1997 at Big Run Golf Club when he ex­pe­ri­enced a hole-in-one on Num­ber 7, with his trusted five iron. Al­though the hole has since been changed, his ace came on the orig­i­nal green that was slanted down­ward to­ward the tee. Ge­orge’s story sadly ended on Wed­nes­day, July 15, 2020 at 6:40am. Ge­orge will be missed by our care­givers (Iz­abella and Richard) as well as all of his for­mer stu­dents and col­leagues.

On a per­sonal note, Ge­orge and Mary Ann were my rock. They both pro­vided for our fam­ily and brought joy into my life as well as the lives of many oth­ers that will be trea­sured for­ever. I shall miss my Dad and Mom who loved me very much and served as my Best Friends. Vis­i­ta­tion Sun­day, July 19th from 2 un­til 8 p.m. Chapel prayers Mon­day, July 20th, 9:45 a.m. at the KERRY FU­NERAL HOME & CRE­MA­TION CARE CEN­TER, 7020 W. 127th Street, Pa­los Heights pro­ceed­ing to Sa­cred Heart Church, Mass 10:30 a.m. Phase 4 COVID 19 man­dates; masks are re­quired to at­tend the fu­neral ser­vices; no loi­ter­ing is al­lowed in or­der to ac­com­mo­date all guests pay­ing their re­spects. If you will be at­tend­ing mass, please pro­vide your name and phone for the church us­ing this form https://forms.gle/UJy5n­sTmEBMxTPX­i6 In­ter­ment Sa­cred Heart Cemetery.

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