John Glueckert, longtime owner of funeral home, member of Lions Club, dies at 82

Chicago Tribune

John W. Glueckert Sr. was a visible figure in Arlington Heights' business community, both as the longtime owner of the funeral home that bears his surname and as a 50-year member of the city's Lions Club.

"He loved Arlington Heights, he loved the town and he loved the people," said his son, John Jr. "Even after retiring, he'd put on a suit and come in to the funeral home just so he could be around the employees. He really enjoyed talking with people."

Glueckert, 82, died of complications from brain cancer Aug. 14 at his home, his son said. A lifelong Arlington Heights resident, Glueckert had battled cancer for 18 months, his son said.

Born in Arlington Heights, Glueckert graduated from the now-shuttered Arlington High School in 1954 and attended Northern Illinois University.

Glueckert had a longtime interest in the death care industry. As a teenager, he worked part time doing chores at a local funeral home, Black's Memorial Home. After studying at NIU, Glueckert earned a degree from the Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling and continued working at Black's.

After Black's owners divorced, Glueckert remained with the funeral home, staying on after it was bought by Howard Haire, who renamed it Haire Funeral Home. Glueckert was a manager there from 1961 until 1970.

In 1970, Glueckert bought the funeral home from Haire. He kept Haire's name on the facility until renaming it Glueckert Funeral Home in 1976.

In 1987, Glueckert relocated the funeral home to its present location at 1520 N. Arlington Heights Road.

Glueckert was honored for 50 years of service in Arlington Heights' Lions Club. He was a past president of the club.

"He was always there when we needed him," said fellow Lions Club member Ron Niemaszyk, a longtime friend. "He and his wife helped out in different projects we did in town."

Glueckert, who enjoyed horse racing and owned some horses, also liked spending time at Arlington International Racecourse.

"I think he liked a little bit of the action of it," his son said. "He was intrigued and had a knack for reading the racing form and things like that. He did much better playing the horses than he did owning them."

John Christiano, a jockey agent and longtime friend, recalled owning horses with Glueckert before Christiano became a jockey agent.

"We talked horses all the time. If anybody needed anything, he'd do it," Christiano said. "And if anybody needed money, he was very generous. He was just a great guy. He was a hell of a guy."

Glueckert retired in May 2007. During retirement, he enjoyed spending time at his winter home outside Las Vegas and spending time with friends at the Dunton House restaurant in Arlington Heights.

Glueckert served in the Army Reserve from 1958 until 1964 as a supply sergeant while stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. In 2012, he began organizing annual bus trips for veterans and their families to the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.

"It was kind of his thing," Glueckert's son said. He would get people from town, he would be here in the morning early, greeting people and just enjoying walking around the grounds with people. And he'd walk people out to the bus. That's the type of personality he was. He just wanted to help if he could."

In addition to his son, Glueckert is survived by his wife of 59 years, Rosanna; two daughters, Mary Cecelia Glueckert-Heidkamp and Jacqueline; four grandchildren; and a sister, Mary Ellen Borton.

Services were held.

Goldsborough is a freelance reporter.

Copyright © 2017, The Virginia Gazette
43°