American Patriotic 10

Joe E. Wark

October 25, 1932 ~ December 19, 2021 (age 89)

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Joe Wark passed away on Sunday, December 19, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.  He was predeceased by his loving wife Wilma Wark and son Stephen Wark.   He is survived by son Ken Wark (Laura) of Glen Ellyn, daughter Melisa Knez (Steve) of Plover WI, grandsons Joseph Wark, Jackson Knez, Henry Knez and many nieces and nephews.  He is also survived by one sister, Donna Gould of Albuquerque.  Joe Everett Wark was born October 25,1932 in Burlingame KS.  He was the 5th of 6 children of Howard and Ruth Wark, growing up on farms in and around Lyndon KS.  Joe graduated from Lyndon High School in 1950 and Clark Business School in 1951.  He began his career at the Santa Fe Railway in Topeka in the accounting department.  He took a leave in 1952 to join the Navy, stationed in Corpus Christi then San Diego.  During this time, he married Wilma May Ballew on June 13, 1954.  In 1956, Joe returned to the Santa Fe advancing his career from the Freight Traffic Office in Kansas City, to Chicago, to Peoria, to Memphis, to Houston, to Ft. Worth, to Dallas, then back to Chicago.  He retired in 1989 as Vice President of Sales after 37 years of faithful service.  Joe loved his career, feeling privileged to have met such wonderful people who made such a difference in his life.

Joe and Wilma had taken a trip to New England in 1976.  When he was transferred to the Chicago office, they spent days with realtors looking at Naperville, Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn and Wheaton.  When they got to Glen Ellyn, Joe had an immediate connection to the “New Englandish” of Glen Ellyn.  His favorite time was the 4th of July, hosting a pig roast for many years.  But he loved everything about the village.

After retirement, Joe began to serve and give to the village when and wherever he could.  Joe was a Village Trustee 1990-1995, and Village President 1997-2001.  He then continued to advocate for the beautification and environmental improvement for Glen Ellyn by chairing the Glen Ellyn Bloom committee, acting as a committee member for the DuPage County Stormwater Committee, and serving on the committee for Conservation Foundation. Joe was a tour guide at the Morton Arboretum.   He was also a board member of the YMCA in Glen Ellyn.  He even helped a gentleman get approval for his sidewalk hot dog stand.  His love and caring for Glen Ellyn had no boundaries.

His other passion was serving the First Presbyterian Church of Glen Ellyn.  He led many committees and loved to usher at Sunday services.

“No boundaries” may best describe Joe’s love for Glen Ellyn and his church.  Whatever the cause or service, if he could do good for the village or church, he wanted to be a part of it.  He made a difference by teaming with others who live here to accomplish the same goal.  And this was due to a love that began in 1976 and flourished for many years.

A wake will be held at Leonard’s Funeral home in Glen Ellyn on Tuesday, January 4, 2:00-6:00.   Services will be Wednesday, January 5, at 1:30, at the First Presbyterian Church in Glen Ellyn. The service will be live streamed:   

Burial will be private.

We hope to plant a ginkgo tree with a plaque honoring Joe and Wilma at the Morton Arboretum.  If family and friends would like to donate to the Arboretum in Joe’s memory, they may do so in two ways:

1) By Check: 

The Morton Arboretum

Development Office

P.O. Box 773368

Chicago, IL 60677-3368

(Attn: Tributes for Joe Wark)

2) By credit card On-line: Use the link here:

Tributes at The Morton Arboretum (for Joe Wark)

Select "Other Amount", place their tribute amount and list "Joe Wark" as the honoree. 


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joe E. Wark, please visit our floral store.


January 4, 2022

2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Leonard Memorial Home
565 Duane St.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Funeral Service
January 5, 2022

1:30 PM
First Presbyterian Church of Glen Ellyn
550 N. Main St.
Glen Ellyn, Illinois 60137

Video is available for this event

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