Cover photo for John F. Mcnamara's Obituary
John F. Mcnamara Profile Photo
1939 John 2020

John F. Mcnamara

August 27, 1939 — September 30, 2020

John Francis McNamara, 81, Rockford, died peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, from the effects of dementia in his home on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. Born August 27, 1939 in Whiting, Indiana, son of John I. and Marian Buckley McNamara. He was a graduate of Notre Dame University and the University of Michigan law school. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving in Vietnam. John married Barbara Runkle on June 26, 1965; they were happily married 55 years.
John was a public servant and community activist, serving as Mayor of the City of Rockford from 1981-1989. He was a man of deep faith and a devoted husband, beloved father, adoring grandfather and much-loved son and brother. He was many things to many people, including a dear friend and encouraging adviser. He was a Cubs fan, gardener, choir member, and supporter of the arts. His life’s work inspires all of us; his family asks that in his memory, you VOTE and get involved in your community!
Survivors include his beloved wife, Barbara; adored children, John (Mary Maguire) McNamara, Kate (Terry) Bourbeau, Dan (Sarah Bursley) McNamara, Mary (Ben Bernsten) McNamara Bernsten, Nell (Cameron McLaughlin) McNamara and Thomas (Sarah Reed) McNamara; and miraculous grandchildren Seamus, Fergus, Tess, Louis, Jackson, Celia, Isaac, Martin, Vincent, Gustav, Jarrett, Thomas, Lowell, Mara Mae, Olympia and Malachy. Predeceased by his loving parents, sisters Maureen Faulkner and Tess Syron, and parents-in-law Verl and Katherine Runkle.
The visitation is from 2-6 p.m. on Sunday, October 4, 2020 in Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, Mulford Chapel, 1860 S. Mulford Rd. Social distancing and masks required. A private Funeral Mass will be held at the Cathedral of St. Peter on Monday, October 5, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.. View the live-stream of the funeral Mass on Zoom with Meeting I.D. #83622393264 and Password 12345. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in memory of John McNamara to Rockford University, 5050 E. State Street, Rockford, IL 61108 or Womanspace, 3333 Maria Linden Dr., Rockford, IL 61114. Send condolences and share memories at

To share a memory or condolence with the McNamara family please click here:McNamara Memories

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, October 4, 2020

2:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory - Mulford Chapel

1860 South Mulford Road, Rockford, IL 61108

Social Distancing and Masks are Required

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