Joel B. Pedigo, 85, longtime resident of Oak Park, died on July 9, 2012, surrounded by his family. Born in Smithville, Tennessee to Clarence and Willie Mae, who were sharecroppers, his family moved to Akron, Ohio, at the start of World War II to work in the Goodyear rubber factory. He enlisted in the Navy at 17 and served on the U.S.S. Roanoke during the Korean conflict, then attended Kent State University, the University of Cincinnati, and Ohio State University, earning a master’s degree in chemistry and was awarded two U.S. patents in chemistry. 

He lived most of his adult life in the Chicago area, owning Water Maintenance Services in Willowbrook for 30 years, and at the end of his career, managing Meredith Culligan Water in Forest Park. 

Joel is survived by his children, Brian (Cristina), Tekla (Patrick Barrick), Steve, Tony, and David (Brandi Medina) as well as his former wife, Helen Kossler, and his 11 grandchildren. He was an avid handball player, a small aircraft pilot, and a motorcycle enthusiast. He will be sorely missed by friends and family. 

A memorial gathering is planned for Sunday, July 25, at 3 p.m. at Trattoria 225, 225 Harrison Street in Oak Park. 

Arrangements are being handled by the Cremation Society of Illinois and comments can be left on their website.

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