John James Grabert, age 69, died unexpectedly at home, Wednesday October 5, 2022. He John
was born at Lorretta Hospital in Chicago, IL on July 7, 1953 to George and Estelle (Iwanski)
John came from a large family with two sisters and two brothers. His most cherished memories
were created at Rock Lake in Trevor, WI where he spent summers and weekends with his
siblings and many “Cuzs.”
A graduate of Ridgewood High School in Norridge, IL, John became a military police officer for
the Air Force reserve right out of high school. After 6-years, the air force base closed, and John
became a boiler scientist where he supplied steam power for the Illinois Institute of Technology
(IIT) campus in Chicago, IL. He worked for on the IIT campus for 42 years and was a member
of the 399 operating engineer union.
Along the way John and Mary had two amazing children—Lisa and Richard. Lisa and John spent
many weekends together golfing. John only beat Lisa twice, both times at Cousin Joan’s
Entwood Golf Course in Holcombe, WI. Richard was always John’s apprentice. Whether it was
hunting, fishing, casting sinkers, or cutting grass.
John was an avid hunter. He literally died with his crossbow in his arms. Over the 54 years John
hunted, he was known to use a rifle, compound, and crossbow. He hunted white tail deer,
antelope, mule deer, pheasant, rabbit, and turkey. John reloaded his own ammo. He was also an
expert fisherman. His recent favorite spot was Half Moon Lake in Eau Claire, WI. The whole
Grabert family loved dining on blue gills, sun fish, and perch. As a younger man, John fished
Coho Salmon in Lake Michigan and gave smoked fish out to his Chicago family and neighbors.
John loved to shop—he would never admit it—but he did! He would often take day-long trips to
Eau Claire and hit up his favorite stores. He also loved television. If there was a show about
Alaska, he watched it. He also loved Westerns. Any variety of the old West would do, even
spaghetti Westerns. His favorite actors were Liam Neeson and Clint Eastwood. John was never
happier than when he had a slice of fresh hot Villa Napoli pizza in his hand.
John was a proud producer and member of the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Association. Every
winter he hand-tapped 150 maple trees and collected sap. He custom built and welded his own
maple cooker. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup and John’s all-time record
was 14 gallons in one year!
John was an extremely handy man. He was finishing his dream log home, himself. Always
known to have a chain saw in his hands, John was a skilled lumberjack. He also built everything
himself. A major consumer of YouTube, John could teach himself anything. John loved a “Dad”
joke. One of his favorites: “How much does it cost to hunt? A couple of bucks!”
John is survived by his wife, Mary; daughter Lisa Grabert and Richard (Karen) Grabert; two
sisters, Georgianne and Tiny; two brothers Mister and Bobby; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Estelle and George Grabert; and his in-laws Paul and
A Mass of Christian Burial for John will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 13, 2022,
at Holy Virgin Martyrs: Saints Beatrice & Maria Goretti Catholic Church, 4157 Atlantic Avenue
in Schiller Park, IL 60176. Father Rob will celebrate the Mass. Friends and family are invited for
visitation on Wednesday, October 12th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Cumberland Chapels
Funeral Home, 8300 W. Lawrence Avenue in Norridge, IL and on Thursday from 10:00 a.m.
until the time of Mass at the church. There will be a luncheon/reception following the Mass at
the Edelweiss restaurant 7650 W. Irving Park Road in Norridge. Burial will take place at the
Hillcrest Cemetery, Co. Highway T in Fairchild, WI on Friday, October 14th at 1:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers or plants the family requests that Donations should be directed to the
Whitetails Unlimited, in John’s name https://www.whitetailsunlimited.com/support/donate-now/
The Schiefelbein Funeral Home, 13507 Seventh St., in Osseo, WI is serving the Family (715)