ROCHELLE — John M. Roe, 98, of Rochelle, passed away peacefully at his home Friday, June 17. John was born near Chana on Nov. 12, 1923. He was the son of Malcolm R. and Georgia (Dailey) Roe. He attended Chana Grade School and graduated from Rochelle Township High School in the class of 1941. He attended Knox College at Galesburg, where he participated in athletics and was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 and became the navigator on a B-24 crew, serving with the 15th Air Force in Italy during World War II. After discharge from the Army Air Corps service, he attended Reppert Auction School in Decatur, Indiana. John came home from the service to manage Roe’s Consignment Sale at Chana and conducted livestock and estate auction sales all over northern Illinois for the next 55 years.
John married the former Sally Berk of Oregon on Jan. 4, 1947, after the conclusion of her service in the Navy WAVES in World War II. They were the parents of three children, John L. Roe of Rochelle, Suzanne (Bill) Gilkerson of Monticello, Iowa, and Janet (Vern) Everette of Winfield, Illinois. They also had three grandchildren Lauren (Chris) Sokn of Washington, Illinois, Philip (Amy) Gilkerson of Monticello, Iowa, and Katherine Everette of Galway, Ireland; four great-grandchildren Lydia and Liam Sokn of Washington, Illinois and Quinn and McKinley Gilkerson of Monticello, Iowa. He is also survived by special friend Vivian Carlson. John was predeceased by his wife Sally on March 9, 1996; his siblings Jane, Morris, and Maxine, and his parents Malcolm and Georgia.
John was a sports enthusiast, playing baseball with Chana in the old Kishwaukee league and fast-pitch softball with several teams in northern Illinois. He also played AAU basketball for many years. John was a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan, a self-described avid but less than average golfer, and an above average bridge player. During his auctioneering career, he took a great interest in Ogle County 4-H groups by contributing many times to the auctioning of their projects. John was a lifetime member of the Oregon VFW Post, the Rochelle American Legion, and a 65-year member of the Oregon Masonic Lodge and Rockford Tebala Shrine. He was a founding member of the RTHS Alumni Scholarship Committee. John was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Rochelle. In retirement he volunteered his time at his church, local schools and the Presbyterian Thrift Shop.
Memorial visitation will be held 4-7 p.m. Thursday, June 23 at the Unger-Horner Funeral Home, 400 N. 6th St., Rochelle. Memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, June 24 at the First Presbyterian Church, 1100 Calvin Road, Rochelle. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Village of Progress in Oregon at www.villageofprogress.org. Visit www.ungerhorner.com for online guest book and video tribute.