John ‘Jack’ G. Herra

By on November 12, 2009

John “Jack” G. Herra, 74, of Elburn, passed away at his home Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. Jack was surrounded by his loving family.

He was born July 31, 1935, the son of George and Mary (Kessel) Herra in Ottawa, Ill.

While he was still young, the family moved to Elburn, where he would attend local schools and graduate from Elburn High School in 1953. Following graduation, he worked for his family at Herra Grocery and Market until his enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps on April 29, 1954.

Jack faithfully served his country and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, until his honorable discharge on April 28, 1956. Upon his return to civilian life, Jack began working for A&P Food as a butcher in St. Charles.

Jack was united in marriage to Florence Altepeter on June 13, 1959. They were blessed with four children, Steve, Phil, Mary and Pattie. He later worked for his father-in-law, who owned a plumbing and heating business, H & L Altepeter.

Florence passed away on Feb. 10, 1973. Jack continued to work and raise his family in Elburn. In June of 1974, Jack and his brother Rich had the opportunity to buy the business and renamed it J & R Herra Inc.

Jack met Janet Sue Allen at the local bowling alley, and before long they were married on Nov. 23, 1974, at Kaneville United Methodist Church. They continued to live in Elburn and were blessed with two more children, Alan and Brian.

Jack poured his heart and soul into his business and not only watched it grow, but watched his sons walk in his footsteps and was blessed to be able to work side by side with them for many years.

Jack was a life member of the American Legion, Elburn Post 630. He also served as Captain of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District and was known as “Capt. Jack” by his fellow fire fighters.

Jack was dedicated to all he put his mind to, whether it was serving his community on the Fire Department for more than 32 years, working to keep his friends and neighbors warm and dry though his business, or the hours spent hunting, camping and fishing with family and friends.

Jack hunted for many years in Lee and Bureau counties for deer and pheasant. Jack loved to go on his annual fishing trips beginning in the late 1960s with friends Stafford Meek, Marty Strausberger and Henry Swift in Shelbyville, Ill. In later years, more friends joined the gang, and the location moved to Kentucky Lake. In 2002, a dream was fulfilled when he finally made it to Canada with his son, Phil.

He also loved to travel with Jan all over the globe, and they especially enjoyed cruises with good friends Marty and Elverna Strausberger.

With every mile they made a memory on each trip and cruise. Destinations included the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Bahamas, London, Australia, Alaska and more. One of his best memories was made on his trip to Alaska, when Jack was reunited with Archie, a Marine he served with in Okinawa.

Jack also loved to dance, and if Jan wasn’t his partner, he found other willing souls regardless of their experience. Above all, his family was the most important, and he was very proud of all his children’s athletic and academic accomplishments. He will live on in his children and grandchildren, who will remember him always.

He now leaves his loving wife, Jan; six children, Steve (Carol) Herra and their children, Jordan, Megan and Shannon of Elburn; Phil (Linda) Herra and their children, John, Lindsay, Steve and Mary of Belvidere, Ill.; Mary (Chris) Heineman and their children, Dan and Jacob of Sugar Grove; Pattie (Randy) Pattermann and their children, Will, Justin and Kylen of Elburn; Alan (Dana) Herra and their children, Charlene Walker, Tasha Capes and Jackson Herra of Elburn; and Brian (Laura) Herra with one on the way in early 2010, of Elburn; four brothers, Richard (Mary) Herra, D. Larry “Bucky”(Maxine) Herra, Leroy (Carol) Herra and Dean “Yogi” Herra, all of Elburn; one sister, Darlene (Terry) Terrill of Knox, Ind.; many nieces, nephews, cousins and a family of friends.

He now joins his parents; two sisters, Marie Fraunberg, and Janet Kay, who died in infancy; and his first wife, Florence, who preceded him in death.

Visitation will be Sunday, Nov. 15, from 3 to 7 p.m., at Elburn Lions Park, 500 Filmore Drive, Elburn. Private family burial will occur following cremation at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit his favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Jack Herra Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at