Thomas Kwak

RALEIGH, N.C. — Thomas Jacob Kwak, 63, of Raleigh, N.C., passed away Friday (Nov. 19, 2021) at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee.

He was born Aug. 8, 1958, in Kankakee, the son of Joseph J. and Thecla M. Kaciusis Kwak. Thomas married Danielle Pender on June 28, 2003, in Raleigh, N.C. She survives.

Also surviving are his two children, Jacob Kwak and Alexandra Kwak; one brother and sister-in-law, Joseph A. Kwak and Denise Desjardins, of Hawkesbury, Ontario, Canada; and three sisters and one brother-in-law, Annette and Kevin Fitzpatrick, of Seattle, Wash., Christine Kwak and Linda Rodriguez, of Battle Creek, Mich., and Fran Kwak, of Seattle, Wash; nieces and nephews, Noelle (Edward) Kramer, Colin Fitzpatrick, Gerardo Veltri, Brianne Fitzpatrick and Jack Pelzer; and great-nephew, Lucas Pelzer.

Preceding him in death were his parents; and one sister, Anita Kwak.

Thomas received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

He worked as a professor at North Carolina State University and was leader of the U.S. Geological Survey Team.

Thomas was a member of Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, American Fisheries Society and the Wake County Beekeepers Association.

He enjoyed beekeeping, hunting and fishing, and genuinely loved the outdoors.

Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 22, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Momence, with the Rev. Rev. Peter Jankowski officiating. Interment will be in St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery, Momence.

Memorials may be made for Tom’s children’s education, Shriners Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa., or to American Rivers.

Please sign his online guestbook at