George J. Gondzur, 89, of Westville, died at 8:05 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, at the Danville Veterans Affairs hospital surrounded by his loving family.
He was born Oct. 30, 1924, in Westville, the son of the late Andrew and Mary Gondzur.
He was a PFC in the Air Force and served from April 14, 1943, until his honorable discharge on Feb. 15, 1946. He was a self-employed carpenter, cabinetmaker and owner of Gondzur’s Cabinet Shop in Westville for many years.
He was a talented trumpet player and member of the local musicians union. As leader of Lu George Orchestra for close to 50 years, his big band music was enjoyed by many throughout central Illinois and Indiana. He also coordinated local talent for the Danville Parks Department Amateur Hours.
George was married to Joan Deknuydt at St. Procopius Catholic Church in Westville on June 18, 1949. She preceded him in death.
He will be dearly missed by his children, Gary (Judy) Gondzur of Houston, Texas, Raymond (Donna) Gondzur of Louisville, Ky., Nancy Gondzur of Madison, Wis., Christopher (Lisa) Gondzur of Westville, James (Pamela) Gondzur of Louisville, Ky., Madonna (Chris) Poggendorf of Westville and Andrew (Anjanette) Gondzur of St Louis, Mo.; and grandchildren, Geoff and Mitchell Gondzur, Nicholas and Lauren Gondzur, Aaron, Ryan and Lynnse Gondzur, Alexander Gondzur, Bailee and Taylor Poggendorf, Meredith, Jesse, Claire and Benjamin Gondzur. He is further survived by great-grandchildren, Lydia, Lani and Gracyn Gondzur. He has one surviving sister-in-law, Lavonne Hart of Westville.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Mary Conover; a grandson, Matthew Caston; and several sisters-in-law and brothers-in law.
George was a community leader in many capacities. He was an elected trustee of Georgetown Township for 20 years. George was an active member of Westville American Legion, Post 51 for 69 years, serving as past commander and also Illinois District 18 commander. He also held various other offices in the American Legion, including adjutant on both the local and district level.
George was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church for over 50 years, serving on the school board, church leadership committees, lector, commentator, church choir and Boy Scout leader. He was devoted to Catholic education serving on the Schlarman High School board, which included a term as board president. He is a past member of the Westville Credit Union Board. He was selected as the Westville Labor Day Parade Honoree in 1999.
A funeral mass will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, with Fr. Timothy Sauppé officiating. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, with a rosary beginning at 4 p.m. at Sunset-Urbas Funeral Home in Westville. Burial will take place at Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Westville, with military honors immediately following mass.
The family thanks the amazing staff of the Palliative Care unit at the Danville VA during his brief stay. They also would like to extend their sincere gratitude to his VA home-based primary care nurse Karen Sleva and the staff of Pleasant Meadows Christian Village. In addition, the family would like to thank James Balsamello and Donald Hennette for their many years of friendship extended to their father. You truly were the “three amigos.”
Memorials can be made to St. Mary’s Church, Schlarman Academy or Danville VA Palliative Care. Please join George’s family in sharing photos, videos and memories on his Tribute Wall at www.sunsetfuneralhome.com