Cliff Polley

ROCHELLE — Cliff Polley, 61, passed away at his home in Rochelle on Jan. 5 after a six-month battle with cancer. 

Cliff was born in Chicago on May 1, 1961. Cliff enjoyed motorsports, steam trains, drag racing, model building and caring for animals. He shared and imbued these passions into his sons, along with love of music, video games and science fiction.

At a young age, Cliff poured his heart and soul into gymnastics and weightlifting while also playing football his freshman and sophomore years in high school. As he grew older, he turned that energy and a keen mechanical understanding towards motocross racing and building cars (most notably his Mustangs). He married his high school sweetheart, Jennifer Nicholson, on June 7, 1981. They were married for 41 years and raised three magnificent boys together. Cliff actively encouraged his sons to follow their passions and supported them in any way he could.  He had an infectious laugh, was quick to joke around with friends and family at the dinner table and even with strangers in passing. 

Cliff worked at Rittenhouse from 1979-1989, at Caterpillar from 1989-2017 as a test specialist, and at IDEAL as a machinist from 2018-2023.

He will be remembered as a caring, selfless man whose love for his wife, sons, family and friends could only be outsized by his warmth and joy for life. To say he will be missed is an understatement – his passing leaves a void that can never be filled.

Cliff was preceded in death by his parents, Phillip J. Polley and Roxanne (Gould) Agren, his father-in-law James (Nick) Nicholson and brother-in-law Jeffrey W. Nicholson.

He is survived by his wife, Jennifer; sons Jeremy (Sarah), Joshua (Tarrin) and Nicholas (Heather) Polley; six grandchildren; stepmother Rita Polley; sister Kip (Steve) Berg; and many nephews, nieces and friends.  

A visitation will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 10 from 3 p.m. until time of funeral service at 5 p.m. at Anderson Funeral Home, 2011 S. 4th St., DeKalb, IL 60115 

Flowers or memorials can be made to the Polley family in care of Anderson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 605, 2011 S. Fourth St., DeKalb, IL 60115. Donations received will be put towards the Rochelle Police Department K9 fund and the Fxck Cancer Organization.


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