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Frank A. Svoboda Jr.September 23, 1933 ~ June 10, 2017 (age 83)
Frank Anton Svoboda, Jr., age 83, of Barrington Hills, Illinois, devoted family man, civic leader, businessman and outdoorsman, passed away on June 10, 2017 from heart and respiratory failure. He was born on September 23, 1933 in Des Plaines, Illinois to Frank Svoboda, Sr. and Marion (Petersen) Svoboda. His father Frank Sr. helped run the family business Svoboda’s Men’s Wear, a men’s retail clothier founded in 1922 in Des Plaines. His mother Marion was a homemaker and former church organist who instilled in Frank the importance of music and culture, and he played the clarinet through college and loved music all his life.
Frank was educated in the public schools of Des Plaines and Maine Township, and graduated from Lawrence University in Wisconsin in 1955 with a major in economics. At Lawrence, Frank met Carol Adams whom he married in March 1957. The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with family and friends earlier this year.
After serving as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force in Japan from 1955-57, Frank returned to Des Plaines with Carol to join his father at Svoboda’s Men’s Wear and raise five children. He continued to operate the landmark business with dedicated employees for almost four decades until he chose to close it in early 1995. Upon closing, Frank was quoted in a local newspaper saying: “We have chosen to do this, but one thing we will miss is our customers. Many of them have been coming to us for so long that they have become real friends. To some people, we’re kind of like the family doctor.”
Civic involvement was pivotal in Frank‘s life. In Des Plaines he was active in the Chamber of Commerce, headed local fundraising efforts for the United Way and the Lattof YMCA, and was a member of Lions Club International and other service groups. In 1973, he joined the Board of Directors of First Federal Savings and Loan (which later became CoVest Banc) headquartered in Des Plaines and served as Chair of the Board from 1988 until the bank’s sale in 2004. Frank was also a prominent member and leader at First Congregational Church of Des Plaines and later the Barrington United Methodist Church after he and Carol moved to the Barrington area in 1992. He was a generous financial supporter of these churches, Lawrence University, and many other charities.
An avid outdoorsman since his youth, Frank loved to fly fish, bird hunt and downhill ski, activities he enjoyed with his children and grandchildren and numerous hunting and fishing partners. He fished widely throughout North America, including often in the North Woods lakes near the family cabin at Smoky Lake, Wisconsin, and usually hunted more locally in Illinois and Wisconsin. As part of his love for the outdoors, he was active for many years in the Ruffed Grouse Society, Ducks Unlimited and other conservation efforts. His love of skiing began in college and continued until his late 70’s. Family ski trips to the Rocky Mountains were a regular event each March. Christmas and Fourth of July gatherings each year at Smoky Lake further allowed the family to cross-country ski, play pond hockey and enjoy summer lake activities.
Frank is survived by his wife Carol; sons John (Jill) Svoboda and Paul Svoboda of Chicago, IL; daughters Kathryn (Kerry) Vermeer of Minneapolis, MN, Sarah (Ken) Wright of Durango, CO, and Margaret Svoboda of Sacramento, CA; and grandchildren Sam, Adam and Lucy Svoboda, Grace (Brooks) Van Horn, Gordon (Sarah) Vermeer, Evert Vermeer, Webb and Anna Wright.
A memorial service will be held at Barrington United Methodist Church on Saturday, June 17 at 11 a.m., with visitation at the church starting at 10 a.m. On Friday, June 16, visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Davenport Funeral Home, 149 W. Main Street, Barrington. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Frank’s name to Barrington United Methodist Church, 98 Algonquin Road, Barrington, IL 60010, or America’s VetDogs, www.vetdogs.org.
For information, please contact Davenport Family Funeral Home, 847-381-3411. For online condolences please visit, www.davenportfamily.com.