Fred Jarka

NORMAL — Frederick Ernest Jarka, 84, of Normal, passed away Sept. 19, 2021, peacefully, at his home.

Fred was born Dec. 25, 1936, in Chicago, the son of Ernest and Hilda (Ruetz) Jarka. He married Diana DeFoe, of Elmhurst, on Dec. 12, 1959.

He served in the U.S. Army in Germany. He was in the top of his class in military security.

Fred obtained master’s degrees in environmental science and divinity. He had won an Environmental Award for the State of Illinois.

He taught at Momence, Indian Oaks, Trinity and other schools in the area. Fred was an assistant pastor, cabinet maker, maintenance man, locksmith, handyman, pizza maker, and owned his own restaurant, Garden Gate Pizza in Bradley.

Fred enjoyed tinkering, camping and traveling. He loved kids and helping people as a way of serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through Open Bible, Eastview Christian and the Billy Graham Film Association.

Surviving are his wife of 61 years, Diana; siblings, Roland (Carol), of Portland, Ore., Carol (Bill) Kitchell, of Saucier, Miss.; sister-in-law, Donna Jarka, of Michigan; children, Fred (Linda) Jarka, of Canton, Ohio, Miriam (Gary) Upchurch, of Bloomington, Karen Henry, of Brookville, Ohio, and Beth (Eric), of Normal; nine grandchildren, Sarah, of Normal, Dan, of Bloomington, Renee, of Lake City, Mich., Rebecca, of Brookville, Ohio, Fred, of Canton, Ohio, Lydia, of Canton, Larissa, of Canton, Matthew, of Brookville, and Joshua, of Brookville; and six great-grandchildren, Elizabeth and Alex, of Normal, Gideon, Bjorn and Flynn, of Lake City, and Raphael, of Bloomington; all of whom he loved very deeply.

Preceding him in death were his parents; and a brother, Don Jarka.

Visitation will be from 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, until the 10 a.m. memorial service, all at Open Bible Center in Kankakee. The Rev. Andy Hansen will officiate.

Memorials may be made to Greater Peoria Honor Flight.