Joseph Roger “Joe” Vojacek, 82, a resident of Oak Park and lifelong cool dude, died on April 24, 2022. A lifetime resident of the Chicago area, he was born in the city, and later moved with his parents to the west suburbs, where he graduated from Riverside Brookfield High School (1958). He began post-high school studies in English at North Central College in Naperville, before transferring to the University of Chicago in Hyde Park where he graduated with a B.A. degree in English and went on to complete an M.A. degree in English Literature in 1964. He and Marti, a longtime Hyde Park resident, married in 1983; their household included Marti’s three daughters from a previous marriage.
He made a long career of teaching, predominantly at the Malcolm X College campus of the City Colleges of Chicago. He earned tenure as a professor of English, and later in his career especially enjoyed teaching Humanities courses, where he blended literature, film, music, graphic arts and other cultural representations into wide-ranging understandings of contemporary society. In 1975 he enrolled in the PhD program in English at Loyola University Chicago, but after completing his coursework, he made the decision to withdraw from the program, opting instead to pursue a new-found passion for antiquing. While continuing to teach at Malcom X, and often accompanied by Marti, he traveled the Midwest in search of antique Americana — furniture, advertising artifacts, ephemera, arcade machines, and all things related to the history and practice of stage magic.
After retiring from teaching in 2000, the couple moved from Hyde Park to Oak Park, close to Marti’s youngest daughter from a previous marriage, Lisa (Ben Weinberg) and grandsons Eli and Leo, who knew their Grammie’s husband as “Hon.” In addition to spending time with the grandsons, he spent many happy hours absorbed in pursuing his longtime interests in antiquing, music, poetry, art, film and video, photography, and more, through the digital lens and tools of his iPad.
The only child of Joseph Vojacek Jr. (d. 2000) and Camille Sima Vojacek (d. 1998), beloved nephew of Ella Sima (d. 2002), and husband of Martha “Marti” Morrow-Vojacek (m. 1983, d. 2021), Joe is survived by his stepdaughters, Deborah Morrow, Rebecca Morrow, and Elisabeth Morrow and spouse, and step-grandsons Elias Weinberg and Leo Weinberg.