Alan John Soukup, aged 92, died of natural causes on November 25th, 2015.
The second of three sons, he was born July 30th, 1923 to Erwin Rudolph Soukup and Libby Vlasta Hofreiter. His wife of 44 years, Elizabeth Irwin (Betsy) Parker, died in 1993. He is survived by his children Cady Allyn Soukup, Anne Hornung-Soukup, Peter Jan Soukup, Margaret Erwin “Peggi” Soukup Bova and William Alan Soukup, by his three American Field Service children, Luisa Isabel Diaz, Hakan Litsegaard and Jan Tjernberg, and by many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Alan was born and raised in Wheaton, Illinois and graduated from Wheaton Community High School. Following graduation, he was called up by the Navy and served as the youngest minesweeper captain in the history of the Navy at the time, earning the Bronze Star.
After his naval service, he graduated from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois with a degree in chemistry. He started a Master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Illinois where he met his wife Betsy, but he stopped graduate school to open a Soukup hardware store in Downers Grove, Illinois. Betsy joined him in Downers Grove in 1949 when they were married. In his long working career (he retired at the age of 75), Alan ran a Soukup hardware store, then a Soukup furniture store, was Advertising and Circulation Manager at the Downers Grove Reporter weekly newspaper for many years, sold advertising for a business journal in downtown Chicago, and sold real estate.
Alan and Betsy were very active members of the Downers Grove community. They joined the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Downers Grove, and sang in the choir there for over 40 years. Alan taught a very successful Sunday school course for teenagers, and he was a Boy Scout Leader for many years. He was a long-time member and several-time President of the DG Lions’ Club, and his annual Lions’ Club treasure hunts were known for their clever clues. He was a huge theater fan who became the unpaid but very happy theater critic for the local paper. In his later years, Alan was a volunteer Saint, an unpaid Chicago live theatre usher, and a Chicago Civic Opera supernumerary. Alan and Betsy and their family hosted three American Field Service students for one-year stays, one from Argentina and two from Sweden. Alan and Betsy travelled extensively after their children were grown, and Alan continued his travels after Betsy passed away. Alan was still reading two newspapers every day until shortly before his death.
Alan was known as a bright and outgoing man with an amazing sense of humor who was interested in everything and everyone. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm on February 13th, 2016 at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church 1125 Franklin Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515. Memorials in Alan’s memory may be made to the church.
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Peggi: Love and grace, my friend.
Peggi, dear friend:
Such a wonderful tribute to your dad. Love and prayers to you and your family. I can see what cherished memories you will all have, always.
Pamela (Byrne) Hurley
Beautifully put. Sorry for your loss. He lived a long and wonderful life, you were blessed to have him that long.
Peggi- Nice tribute to your dad. Wish he would have liked Francesca! Best to your family…Cass
Cady, such a lovely write-up for your Dad. He sounds like a wonderful, energetic man with all of his career and business paths! What a creative guy! I’m grateful for his military service. My condolences and love to your family, and it’s lovely to see he shared his birthday with you and me!
What a nice tribute to your Father, Peggi. To have known him, and Betsy, and all the Soukups, too, was one of the good things in my life. I am so sorry that I will miss his memorial service as I will be in Florida in February .
My love and condolences to all of you.
Hi Barb and thanks so much for this message. I’m sorry we won’t see you then – you and Al were part of Dad and Mom’s life for so long, and were such good friends – he always appreciated that friendship ! Enjoy the time in Florida and I hope to see you another time when I’m in the US.
Henry E Bird
Henry E Bird
I didn’t meet Allen until late in life but we became good friends. We visited the Theatre together and took several trips together. He was a fine man and a good friend I will miss him.
My condolences to his family.
Sally A. Carlon
I am so pleased you were able to be with your Dad shortly before his passing. I am sure it meant the world to both of you for that moment of recognition and life time of memories.
I wish you and all of your family the very best,
To the Soukup family, from Stephen Prins, in faraway Sri Lanka
My deepest condolences. I met your Dad many, many times, at your home in Downers Grove. He was such a warm, affable person. I got to know the Soukup family as an American Field Service guest of the Pollard family, in Sherwood Avenue.
I made contact with Anne not very long ago, through email. Pete was a good and loyal friend. I deeply appreciated his friendship. My most vivid memory of the Soukup family was how remarkably TALL everyone was, as against my mere 5′ 6″. I had ideas of attending the Class 70 reunion, a couple of years ago, but the plan didn’t pan out. Would love to hear from you, and from Pete especially. How nostalgic all this is. Do please reply. Stephen