John J Ockert

March 10, 1942 ~ February 9, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old


John Ockert, 80, of Monmouth, Illinois, passed away February 9, 2023. He died peacefully, in his home, surrounded by his wife and two sons. He was a kind and patient husband, father, brother, and grandpa, an empathetic and devoted math teacher, and a dad-joke pioneer. His calm presence, warmth, and sense of humor will be deeply missed by his friends, family, and former students.John was born March 10, 1942, in South Bend, Indiana, to Dorothea “Dottie” Mahin and John Ockert. He spent the first five years of his life living in his maternal grandparents’ home in South Bend, with his mom, while his dad served in the US Navy in World War II. After the war, his family returned to his father’s hometown of Roseville, Illinois. He spent the remainder of his childhood in Roseville, and graduated from Roseville High School in 1960. He attended Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, and graduated in 1965 with a BS in Education. After college, John began a 40-year career as a math teacher. His first job was at Ohio High School in Ohio, Illinois. After 2 years, he took a job at Warren Township High School in Gurnee, Illinois. He taught at WTHS for 6 years and started the ski club there. John left teaching after 8 years and pursued various jobs in the insurance industry, all while moonlighting as a bartender at the Village Tavern in Long Grove, Illinois. It was there that he met his wife, Lori Ockert, who he married in 1976. They settled in Arlington Heights, Illinois, from 1974 to 1981 and had twin sons in 1979. In 1981, John moved back to Monmouth, Illinois, to take over the family farm. From 1981 to 1993 John grew corn, soybeans, and sweet corn on farms in Roseville and Ellison Townships. He loved farming, and remained passionate about agriculture throughout his life. Even while he was farming, John rekindled his enthusiasm for teaching. He became a frequent substitute teacher in the math department at Monmouth High School in the mid-1980’s, and began providing private math tutoring in his home for high school students around the same time. In 1989, he returned to full-time teaching at Southern High School in Stronghurst, Illinois. While at Southern, John taught math and physics, and was the chair of the school’s math department. He also started the school’s scholastic bowl team in 1994, and coached the team through the rest of his time at the school. He was extremely fond of his time at Southern, and somewhat reluctantly left in 2002 to take a new job teaching math at Galesburg High School in Galesburg, Illinois, where he stayed for 10 years—finally retiring from full-time teaching in 2012. In retirement, John continued to teach math part time at Carl Sandburg College. He had begun teaching in the evenings at CSC in the 1990’s, and continuously taught there until 2018. John was also a long-time member of the Warren County Board. He was first elected in 1988, and served on the board for 24 years. He is survived by his wife, Lori; their sons Eric (Cailin) Ockert of Cave Creek, Arizona, and Andrew (Amanda) Ockert of Phoenix, Arizona; four grandchildren Andrew, Emily, Thomas, and Olivia; and his sister Jill (Patrick) Wood of Antioch, Illinois. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Dorothea Ockert, of Roseville, Illinois. As were his wishes, cremation is being accorded. The family plans to have a celebration of life in Monmouth on Saturday, February 25 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Monmouth Country Club.  A memorial fund is being established for Western Illinois Animal Rescue and Meals on Wheels.


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Celebration of Life
February 25, 2023

2:00 PM
Monmouth Country Club (Monmouth)


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