STREATOR — Stephen “Steve” Svetz Sr., 81, formerly of Streator, passed away peacefully in his sleep at 5:30 a.m. on Feb. 15 at Evergreen Living Center in Bryant, Ark., due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
He was born June 1, 1936, in Streator, to Stephen Joseph and Ethyl (Chamberlain) Svetz.
He is survived by his daughter, Pamela Svetz, and son, Stephen Svetz (Jane), all of Arkansas; granddaughter, Kelly Heinrich (Nate), of Rockton; granddaughter, Stevie Pollack (Kendall), of Hot Springs; great-grandchildren, Colton and Alise Heinrich; brothers, Ron Svetz (Donna), Bill Svetz (Mary) and Jim Svetz (Patricia); brother-in-law, Ronald (Pete) Elias; and a number of nieces and nephews.
Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Stephen and Ethyl Svetz; his roller-skating sweetheart and wife of 48 years, Myrtle "Myrt" Svetz; his dear sister, Patricia (Elias); and Ziggy, the wonder dog.
Steve attended the St. Stephen’s school system and then began a lifelong career in the grocery business at National Tea in Streator, and as a young adult moved to various places around Illinois as the company’s troubleshooting meat market manager. He also was responsible for seeing the company’s new stores get off to a running start. When the company sold he moved to Texas to continue his work in the field, but his love for family and his home state brought him back to Illinois in the mid '80s.
He and his wife owned a grocery store in Channahon for a time, but when the opportunity presented itself to come back to Streator, he closed that store and opened up the Otter Creek Market. Upon retirement, he and Myrt built their dream home just outside of Streator. After her passing in 2004, he spent the next 10 years in Streator, but when his disease started to progress, he and his daughter, Pam, moved to Arkansas to be with his son and daughter-in-law. He fought a long, hard battle in which there are no winners.
Steve will always be remembered for his kind heart and his dry and continuous-to-the-end wit and sense of humor. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. He spent his first hours in heaven being greeted by loved ones who passed before him and by his wife, Myrt, with carpet samples in hand and complaints of him taking his time in getting there.
A celebration of his life will be Saturday, April 14, at the Baldwin House, 204 E. Kent St., Streator. Friends and family are invited to attend from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Due to his final wishes, he was cremated in Arkansas and there will not be a gravesite service.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Steve’s honor to one of his favorite charities, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis Tenn., Special Olympics, or because of circumstances, to the Alzheimer’s Association.