Cover photo for John F. Mccoy's Obituary
John F. Mccoy Profile Photo
1925 John 2023

John F. Mccoy

April 15, 1925 — February 20, 2023

John F. McCoy was born on April 15, 1925, to George James McCoy and Laura Julia McCoy (nee Nelson) in Chicago, Illinois. John and his older brother James grew up in Chicago where they attended Steinmetz High School. John enjoyed being part of the school’s Stage Crew, where he honed a love for building and working with wood.


On graduating high school in 1943, John was drafted into the Army Specialized Training Program, an accelerated technical training program. However, the progression of the war caused the Army to change plans. John was transferred to the 99th Infantry Division, 393rd battalion as a Private First Class, and was sent to Belgium to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. He shared many stories of this time, some harrowing, some humorous. He was a “BAR man,” the carrier of a heavy Browning Automatic Rifle. They spent the cold winter of ’44-’45 living in fox holes, moving forward into German-held territory, and forming close bonds of friendship that would last a lifetime.


After coming back from the war, John and his brother James moved into their parents’ new home in Bensenville and spent leisure time at the local VFW. It was there that he met Mabel (May) Gjertsen, a secretary at a stock brokerage in Chicago. They were married on May 15, 1948. Their first child, Kathy, was born in 1950. John wanted to build a home for his new family, and in 1953 he, with his brother and father, started construction on a 3-bedroom bi-level in Itasca. Their son, Kevin, was born in 1955.


Through the ’50s and ’60s, John worked at Zenith Radio, Cline Electric and Lindberg Engineering, first as a draftsman and later as an engineer designing heat-treating equipment. Vacation road trips in the family station wagon crossed the country, usually focused on visiting national parks and state capitals.


John’s skills in engineering were complemented by a natural talent for sales and marketing, and by the mid-’60s, he was traveling throughout the country and beyond, pursuing new clients and interfacing with current ones. In 1972, he began working for Ipsen in Rockford, and in 1974, he and May moved to Rockford.


John’s international travel increased, sending him to Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. Many accumulated frequent-flyer miles meant many leisure trips to exciting places, too. Travel was a hallmark of John’s life, and he embraced all of it.

During the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, John welcomed 6 grandchildren, to whom he became Grandpa John and Gramps. He was always a favorite to be around because of his cheerfulness and gentle teasing.


His beloved May passed away in 1986, and John, though filled with grief, negotiated this new chapter in his life with the help of family, friends, and work. Work kept him very busy with even more travel than before, much of it devoted to cultivating new clients in China. It was at a trade show in Beijing that John met Victoria, a graduate student who had an academic focus that was the same as John’s. John and Victoria were married on June 6, 1990. She came to America later that year and finished her degree at Northern Illinois University. John was retired by this time, and he took care of the house while Victoria studied and worked.


In 2000, John and Victoria had their daughter Maureen. John enthusiastically picked up the stay-at-home dad lifestyle, taking care of Maureen while Victoria worked, now as a healthcare professional. John and Maureen made trips to the bus stop, the library, music lessons, running club, and much more. John was Maureen’s first buddy, together they enjoyed the same sugary treats, reading, and playing the games they made up, and he remained her cheerleader always. Travel remained a top priority and Maureen became a seasoned traveler at a very young age. She attended many reunions of the “Mac” army buddies and their wives. Thanks to the Army’s practice of arranging soldiers alphabetically, most of John’s buddies had last names that began with Mc.


John loved reading mystery novels, having snacks during Jeopardy, and playing Free Cell on the computer. He relished Blue Diamond almonds, a cold beer, jalapeño Krunchers potato chips, robust cheeses, and anything chocolate. He enjoyed the detailed work of slicing thin sections of black walnuts and peach stones, polishing them, and turning their natural beauty into jewelry. John loved woodworking and was skilled and prolific. His homes and those of his family have countless additions, improvements, pieces of furniture, and ingenious contraptions that he made.


In the last several years, John suffered from progressive memory loss. With much love and support from Victoria, family, and friends, he still led a peaceful and fulfilling life, including trips to the UK, numerous national parks, the 75th D-Day Anniversary, and local parades. As always, John remained eager to participate in any adventure, large or small, from vacationing at an Airbnb across the country to a walk in the park down the street with family and friends. In these years, he was greatly comforted by the family dog Betsy. She kept him company as he went about his day while Victoria was at work.

John loved his family above all, and he was cherished as the loving husband of Victoria Z. McCoy; beloved father of Kathy and Ed (Chip) Krauss, Kevin and Beth McCoy, and Maureen McCoy; cherished grandfather to Jackie and Luke Rothaar, Paul Krauss, Dale McCoy, Teresa McCoy, Steve Krauss, and Colin Krauss; dear great-grandfather to Josh, Erin, and Lauren Rothaar.


On Sunday, February 19th, the family gathered at the house in Rockford, both in person and remotely, to say goodbye and to celebrate his life. John passed away peacefully at home on Monday morning, February 20, 2023.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30am on April 15, 2023, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Rockford, IL.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Rockford Public Library or Winnebago County Animal Services.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John F. Mccoy, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, April 15, 2023

10:30 - 11:30 am (Eastern time)

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