Crnokrak, John The world lost some of its glow with the passing of John Crnokrak at his home in Dadeville, Alabama on October 27, 2021. He still possessed a vibrancy and positive outlook that shined on to the end. John was born January 4, 1940, in South Chicago to Nicholas and Mildred (Milosovich) Crnokrak. When he was 8 years old his family moved to Gary, Indiana, where he grew up and remembered those years as happy times. He was a gifted athlete and was All-State in several sports. He had his choice of college athletic scholarships, however, to please his dad, he chose the University of Wyoming because of an ethnic rapport with the coach. John told the coach he would only attend if they offered a scholarship to one of his high school basketball teammates. The coach agreed. This gesture was one of countless examples of how John lived his life in service and devotion to friends and family. The isolation of Laramie Wyoming in 1958 proved to be a larger obstacle to the homesick Chicago freshman. Fortuitously, Coach George Ireland of Loyola University of Chicago reached out. John enjoyed 4 years of a Basketball and Jesuit education at Loyola and graduated in 1962. He was inducted in Loyola's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1981. One of his favorite highlights was being chosen as a College All-Star to compete against the Harlem Globetrotters on a nationwide tour. It was on that tour that he met Kathleen Boyle, a stewardess for American Airlines, who he married and lovingly referred to as his Queen. They had three children Patty, Kelly, and Chris. John and Kathy enjoyed a 59-year partnership comprised of love, fun and commitment. John's career path began as a coach and teacher in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After 3 years he was encouraged to take his talents into the corporate world. He successfully navigated sales and leadership positions with large and small companies in a variety of industries including technical, health and golf. As always, he used his coaching and teaching talents to develop and train the personnel entrusted to him. John authored three books later in his life on common sense leadership and personal development. The books were filled with "Crnoisms": i.e., "inspect what you expect" and "comfort is the enemy of change" to name a few. He was respected for his integrity, kindness, and willingness to help and contribute where needed. Family came first. He was always a giver of the one element we never have enough ofTIME! He gave it all freely. To his children and grandchildren, John was larger than life. He instilled in them a blueprint for loyalty, fairness, and the ability to find humor in all places. They've lost their biggest champion and best friend. Our hearts are broken. He has left his footprint behind in all the good he has done! He will be remembered for his tremendous loyalty and love of family and friends, his pride for his alma mater Loyola University Chicago, Loyola Ramblers, Serbian heritage, his hard work ethic and discipline, and his great sense of humoralways followed by his joyous contagious laugh. His strength of spirit remains with all of us he loved. May we continue to pass it on. John is survived by his wife, Kathleen G. Crnokrak; daughter, Kelly Nesbit (Darin); son, Christopher Crnokrak (Jaime); six grandchildren, Jake Gabelman, Nic Olsen, Sammi Crnokrak, Josh Olsen, Katie Crnokrak, and Bryce Pettygrove; Sister-in-law, Patricia LeGault; and Brother-in-law, Scott LeGault. He was preceded in death by his Daughter Patricia Pettygrove; Mother, Mildred Crnokrak; and Father, Nick Crnokrak; Bother-in-law, Michael Boyle. The family will be hosting a Golf Tournament & Celebration of John's Life on Monday, May 16th, 2022 at Stillwaters Golf Course and Clubhouse in Dadeville, Alabama. "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal!"
Published on November 21, 2021
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