John Sloan, of Galva Illinois, passed away on December 9. John was a former BHHA Board Member who did a wonderful job promoting Bishop Hill to the rest of the world. Our deepest condolences go out to his family. John will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Below is his obituary:
John Sloan, of Galva, Illinois, writer and musician, died of cancer of an undeterminable origin, Tuesday evening, December 9th at the age of 64, in the company of his best-friend, travel-companion, and spouse of 42 years Megan McKillip-Sloan.
John, a lifelong Galvan, leaves behind a legacy of good-natured service and contributions to his community, including the formation of the Galva Youth Soccer League and the Galva Coffee House, as well as years of emceeing town talent shows and parades, coaching youth sports, heading a campaign to save high school baseball, teaching CCD, playing music at St. John’s Catholic Church, and the production of a sesquicentennial documentary, “Letters from Galva” (winner of the 2004 Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award).
The third and last child of James Keith Sloan and Alice Arnson, Sloan is preceded in death by his dear parents. He is survived by two siblings, a sister, Mary Armstrong (James) of Marquette, MI, and brother James “Buffalo” Sloan (Betty Ann) of Gaylord, MI.
John married Megan McKillip of Chicago Heights, Illinois on August 27th, 1972, in Glenwood, Illinois. In November 1978 they welcomed their first child, son Colin Thomas (Geraldine), and a second son Patrick Keith in October of 1981. John is survived by his wife and two children, as well as 4 grandchildren, Cal and Setira (Colin), and Cyrus and John Patrick (Patrick).
An alumnus of Iowa Wesleyan College, he worked much of his professional life as an advertiser in Peoria, IL, commuting from Galva every day to allow his family a small town existence. John directed numerous national campaigns for companies such as Caterpillar and Wahl, winning various industry awards, including “Advertiser of the Year” while a creative vice president at Ross Advertising.
A child of the 1950’s and 60’s, John possessed a lifelong passion and appreciation for rock n’ roll, and music in general. Inspired by groups like the Beatles, he started playing in garage bands as a teen and continued performing live original and cover material up until his death. After converting to Catholicism in the late 90’s, he began writing spiritual songs, eventually recording several very well-received albums. John was always happy to perform at funerals, masses, parties, and weddings, and had a profound gift for writing wedding songs for new couples, often using a few mere details to pen a wonderful marital dedication.
Following his retirement from advertising, a direct result of a 2003 diagnosis of prostate cancer, Sloan began a newfound endeavor in journalism. He began writing feature stories and covering sports for the Galva News and the Kewanee Star Courier. Those efforts, along with a winning fight against the cancer, eventually evolved into the development of a weekly column. The column, full of personal anecdotes, humorous tales, self-deprecating humor, and honest serials of success and struggle, struck a chord with countless readers, lending voice to the many who shared his good humored, sensible view of life.
Following his wife Megan’s retirement as an elementary school teacher, in 2011, John’s life took a beautiful turn. In particular to be closer to his grandchildren, he and his wife moved to a home in North Topsail Beach, Topsail Island, North Carolina. There, John continued to pen his column, now filling it with tales of beach houses, sea turtles, southern living, and his life’s greatest joy, time spent with his wife and grandkids.
In the fall of 2013, after experiencing profound back pains, John learned that he’d been diagnosed with cancer for a second time. He sought treatment at Northwestern University in Chicago, and continued writing his column, now documenting the difficult experience.
The final months of John Sloan’s life were a tribute to his bravery, strength, grace, and faithfulness. He woke every morning and made breakfast for his grandsons. He spent every Wednesday having lunch with his “grandpa’s club.” He spent every Thursday having dinner and laughs with his “Thursday night club”. He spent every minute making sure his wife knew how much he loved her. He will be missed by his friends, family, and community.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 A.M. Monday, December 15, 2014 at Visitation Catholic Church, St. John Paul II Parish in Kewanee. Frs. John Burns and Johndamaseni Zilimu will concelebrate. Cremation will follow the mass with private family inurnment in the Galva Cemetery at a later date. Visitation will be Sunday, December 14, at St. John’s Catholic Church in Galva, Il. from 2:30 -5 P.M. A Divine Mercy Chaplet will be followed by the recitation of the rosary at 3:00 P.M. In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to important groups in John’s life including St. John’s Catholic Church, the Galva Arts Council, Galva Historical Society, Galva Public Library, Henry County Historical Society, Galva Park District,, Bishop Hill Heritage Association, OSF Richard Owens Hospice House in Peoria, Moments by Mutti or the charity of the donor’s choice.