Edward August Suska Jr., 87, of Onarga passed away on Saturday, February 19, 2022 at Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka.
Ed was born on July 28, 1934 in Chicago and grew up in the “Back of the Yards Neighborhood”, the son of Edward August Sr. and Alice Elizabeth (McIver) Suska and they preceded him in death along with sister, Margaret (Mark) Decker and Terree Decker; sister, Terree Suska; one son, Mark Patrick Suska; and one granddaughter, Jennifer De La Mora. Ed married Joyce Michaline Robison on June 10, 1956 at St. Richard Catholic Church in Chicago.
Surviving is, Joyce Suska of Onarga, he is survived by one son, Michael (Raeline Eiffert) Suska of Onarga; one daughter, Lynn (Kevin) Kodrick of Joliet; four grandchildren, Weston Spoon of Sarasota, FL, Quinton Suska of Sheridan, WY, Nicholas (Christine) Kodrick of Macro Island, FL and Matthew Kodrick of Plainfield; two great-grandchildren, Natalia Lynn De La Mora and Felipe Edward De La Mora both of Naples, FL; with a later marriage in life to Mariane Steenvoorden of Orland Park; one step-son, Werner (Amanda) Steenvoorden of Orland Park; six step-grandchildren, Zoe, Werner Jr., Gretchen, Lucy, Samantha, and Penelope; cousins, Jimmy (Renata) Suska of Stoughton, WI, Bill (Martha Waszak) Kuhl of Chicago; Tommy (Gail) Waszak of Lockport, and Nancy (Waszak) Dybas of California; nephews, Mark (Cele) Decker of New Jersey, Michael (Eileen) Decker of California, and Jimmy (Patty) Decker of New Jersey; nieces, Sharon (Steve) Winkle of Texas, Kathy (Paul) Kizmann of New Jersey, Eileen (Elayne) Morock of New York, and Margi (Donald) Higgins of Kansas.
He had many jobs throughout his early years.
Ed had such a passion for horses that he took a bus from Chicago to Willow Springs most nights and weekends during high school to work for Ben White’s Stables breaking young horses for livery riding.
He rode sale horses through auction barns, was hired by a veterinarian to hold pigs while being vaccinated, a messenger boy, manually set bowling pins, and a construction laborer.
Ben White hired Ed to tie bulls for transport in the cattle rail cars in the stockyards.
After graduating from St. Rita H.S., worked on gas pipeline between summit and Lemont.
Hired by Ford Motor Company in the Aircraft Engine Division where he was offered a tool and die apprenticeship.
Ed and his buddy Roy Archer built a wooden cover for his pickup and they headed west to Ben White’s Ranch in Tucson.
They had the time of their life, rodeoing from Colorado to New Mexico, picked cotton for three days to earn gas money, headed to the Bar-T-Bar Ranch in Winslow, AZ where he climbed down inside the Meteor Crater, and landed at the Apache Springs Ranch where he would meet his lifelong friends, Dean and Lorraine Mace.
After returning to Chicago, he met Joyce Robison at her mother’s bar in Willow Springs.
He fell in love with this beautiful girl.
While in Illinois dating Joyce, he worked as a fireman on the grand trunk railroad loading fire boxes with coal to run the steam engines.
Driving back to Arizona, he took a job with the Arizona Fish & Game Department with his good friend Dean Mace building mini dams in the mountains trapping water for the wild animals.
Otto Wagner Tool & Die shop in Tucson hired Ed and took him under his wing.
He was an old school German machinist who turned out to be the best tool & die maker he ever met. Ed worked on the side-winder missile prototype. Otto taught him enough to later pass the practical test to get hired by Argonne National Lab.
Ed and Joyce were married June 10th, 1956. They packed up the car and moved to a new brick home in Tucson. Sons Mark and Mike were both born here.
In 1959, they moved back to Illinois to be close to family.
Ed worked various machine shop jobs but that wasn’t enough for a growing family.
He started “Ed’s Port-a-Wash” washing semi-trucks to supplement.
In 1960, Ed’s daughter Lynn was born in Illinois.
This year he was hired by Argonne National Labs as an instrument machinist working on nuclear reactors, high pressure sodium loops, and the forerunner of today’s computer controlled machining centers.
In 1964, Ed and Joyce decided to buy a 20-acre farm in Lockport so they could enjoy their passion for horses.
With three children, Ed took various jobs, such as making machine gun mounts, in addition to working at Argonne.
Ed later took a job on Riley’s Hill in Lockport where he worked on a prototype for the first Xerox Color Copier.
This is when Ed’s life was about to change for the next thirty years!
In 1970, Lou Richards and Henry Lekan needed a machinist to work nights and weekends in Lou’s garage in Mokena to build high speed hamburger forming machines. They hired him and the rest is history for Ed’s career.
In 1971, the first Formax hamburger forming machine was built and Ed was hired full time. In the beginning, he built the machines, installed, and serviced them.
Formax was growing so he was promoted to take over the service group which traveled all over the world.
Holland was accepting of the spare parts necessary to service the machines in Europe so he set up a Formax office in Amsterdam.
He was promoted again to V.P. of Sales & Marketing where he had the unique opportunity to fly on the Concord with Lou Richards. Ed was flying high!
In 1999, Ed retired from Formax, bought a 250-acre farm in Onarga, Illinois where he enjoyed his horses, team roping with his sons, and trips to Canada fishing for over thirty years. He was an advocate for horse and burro rescue.
Not bad for a kid from the back of the yards!
He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Crescent City.
Visitation will be at the Knapp Funeral Home in Onarga on Saturday, February 26 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with a 2:00 p.m. Vesper Service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Crescent City, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary (P.O. Box 998, Hot Springs, South Dakota, 57747), American Indian College Fund (www.collegefund.org/renew), or the National Park Service (777 6th Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20001).