Joseph Patrick Koval, 90, of Staunton died on Sunday, March 15, 2020, at Heritage Health in Staunton. Joe was born on March 16, 1929, in Mt. Olive to Michael and Anna (Kasalko) Koval. He married the love of his life, Rosemary Vidot, on April 29, 1967, in Mt. Olive. Rose preceded him in death in August of 1986.
Following graduation from Mt. Olive Community High School in 1947, he attended Blackburn College in Carlinville and graduated in 1950 with an Associate of Arts degree. Then he attended the University of Illinois where he received his Bachelor of Political Science in 1952 and continued his education path to receive a Bachelor of Law in 1954. Joe wanted to serve his country, so he enlisted in the United States Army, 5th Armored Victory Division: 81st Medium Tank Battalion and served from 1954 to 1956.
Upon leaving the service in 1956, he began his long career in law by becoming a partner at the Kelsey & Koval law firm in Carlinville in 1958 which continued until 1965 at which time he went into private practice continuing until 1976. During his early years as a lawyer, he also served as a Hearing Officer in the Illinois Department of Aeronautics from 1961 to 1969. In 1972, Joe ran for and was elected as the States Attorney for Macoupin County and held that until 1976. Then in 1976, he decided to run for Circuit Judge in Carlinville and was elected into office in July 1976. The Honorable Judge Joseph P. Koval remained as Circuit Judge and won retention throughout his career until retirement in December 2006. Judge Joseph Koval was listed as a reputable judge in the Marquis Who’s Who. He was an active member of the Macoupin County Bar Association, Illinois Judges Association, American Judicature Society and the Knights of Columbus Lodge. One may have known him by “Your Honor” or “Judge,” but he would always say, “Please, just call me Joe.”
Joe enjoyed hunting and fishing with his brothers, John and Mike, for pheasant and quail throughout the central Illinois counties. Joe was an active member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Staunton, Adopt-a-Pet in Benld, Staunton VFW Post #1241, sponsor of several families under the Unbound Charity Foundation, sponsor of the Wounded Warrior Foundation and gave generously to many other charitable foundations. He was a St. Louis Cardinal’s fan, a fan club member of Emmylou Harris (his favorite country singer), lover of all things Charles Schultz and The Peanuts characters, and a Gunsmoke TV show aficionado.
He will be dearly missed by his children, Terri Mrazek of Moses Lake, WA, Linda Yingst of Houston, TX, Keith Koval of St. Louis, MO, Rhonda Koval of Edwardsville and George (Elizabeth) Koval of Ballwin, MO; 10 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews and their families. He will also be missed by the local Staunton community, from his friends at the local Dairy Queen, R&B’s Family Restaurant, and Staunton Community Memorial Hospital, all of which were his usual hangouts in his later years. Finally, he will be missed by so many more people within the Macoupin County area and throughout the surrounding counties who had the opportunity to work alongside him. He was a very honorable husband, father, and friend to all who were blessed to have known him.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Anna; his two sisters, Lucille Koval and Virginia Morris; and his two brothers, John Koval and Michael Koval.
Memorial dedications may be made to Adopt-a-Pet in Benld or St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Staunton.
To the colleagues and dear friends of Joseph P. Koval:
The passing of Joseph P. Koval within this time of uncertainty over the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Virus has brought difficult decisions as to how to honor him. With the passing of any family member, all of us want to share their memories with family and friends who knew them best. During this time of remembrance and reflection, we look back fondly on the life he or she may have lived by those who were blessed to be a part of it. Tears and laughter are shed but through the togetherness of all those who knew the departed, the loss of our loved one is hopefully made easier for all. Now, with the restrictions placed upon us for large gatherings we all cannot honor Joe like we would wish to, and this truly breaks our hearts further than they already are.
We have tried to come up with alternatives to this crisis with the virus, but we are left with very few choices. After speaking with St. Michael’s Church and with the kindness of Williamson Funeral Home in Staunton, there will be a very private gathering for immediate family and a few very close friends to say our farewell to Joe. Then, at a later date that is yet to be determined, one in which we can all come together to share those stories of Joe, to cry, to laugh and to pray, we will have a Celebration of Life for Joseph P. Koval. Please understand, that if there was any other way, we would have a traditional visitation, funeral and burial, but are unable to do this at this time.
Joe will be laid to rest at Holy Trinity Cemetery in Mt. Olive next to his beloved wife, Rosemary, his father, mother and many other Koval family members. Should you wish to make a memorial dedication in Joe’s name, this may be made to Adopt-a-Pet in Benld or St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Staunton. Once more, thank you for your understanding with the very difficult decisions we have had to make in these turbulent times.
Respectfully, the family of Joseph P. Koval,
Terri, Linda, Keith, Rhonda, and George