John (Jack) Andrew Kochinski, 80 of Benld, passed away peacefully at his residence with his beloved wife and children by his side on Sunday, September 5, 2021. Jack was born on April 1, 1941, in Benld a son of the late Mary (Tenikat) Kochinski and the late Joseph Kochinski, both of Benld.
Jack lived his whole life in Benld. He graduated from Benld High School in 1959 and SIUE in 1988. He was a proud athlete playing basketball, track and football in high school He served as co-captain of the football team his senior year making all-conference 1st team tackle. Additionally, he was credited with a thrilling win after scoring the game-winning basket with 7 seconds left to give Benld the victory over Greenfield, 51-50, on November 30, 1958.
After high school, Jack joined the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged due to a physical disability (skin allergy). He worked a variety of jobs, a “Jack of all trades”, including mine examiner, construction, the newspaper business, and then finally, a school teacher for 15 years before retiring in 2003 so he could spend more time fishing and enjoying his family.
Jack married the love of his life, Stephanie Sheridan, on June 10, 1972. He actually married her three times, but that’s a story for another day. They were lucky to spend 49 beautiful years together.
Jack is survived by his wife, Stephanie of Benld; twin daughters, Mary (Steve) Laffey of St. Louis, MO and Kasey (Pete) Zawodniak of St. Louis MO; one son, Joseph (Candace) Kochinski of Benld; 8 grandchildren, Jack Bunn, Katie Laffey, Patrick Laffey, Gracie Laffey, Sam Zawodniak, Ava Zawodniak, Isabella Kochinski, and Steven Kochinski; sister in law, Amparo Kochinski; and several nieces and one nephew.
In addition to his parents, Jack was preceded in death by his brother, Donald and sister, Marie; brother-in-law, Stephen Sheridan, and one niece.
Jack loved to laugh, have a good party, have a cold beer and be surrounded by his friends and family. Some of his favorite old-time memories were of the kitten ball team (the Spooks) that played on the weekends followed by good times at the local pubs.
Later in life, he loved spending time with his children and grandchildren. He was an excellent baby-holder and loved a good Disney movie although they always seemed to make him cry. He taught his grandchildren to love fishing, even teaching them to tie their own flies. He was adored; “the sun” that we were all so happy to revolve around. His children and grandchildren were his pride and joy. Jack loved life.
Visitation will be on Saturday, September 25, 2021 at St. Joseph’s Church, Benld from 11 a.m. to 12 noon with Father Michael Haag officiating. A memorial mass will follow at noon at the church. Refreshments will be at the Benld City Park after the memorial mass. COVID 19 guidelines will be followed.
Memorial donations are suggested to Benld Library, Gillespie Benld Area Ambulance Service, or the Partnership for Educational Excellence. Kravanya Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.