John Hubbuch, 71

WJ columnist, philosopher

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John Hubbuch, 71, a 44-year Oak Park resident, died on Sept. 9, 2020 at Loyola Hospital following surgery for a ruptured aortal valve. Born on Feb. 28, 1949, in New Albany, Indiana, he graduated valedictorian from New Albany High School in 1967, from Vanderbilt University in 1971 (first in his family to go to college) and from the University of Chicago Law School in 1974.

He married Marsha (nee Brooks), a high school classmate, in 1971 and they moved to Oak Park in 1976, where they raised three sons. An attorney with the firms Peterson, Ross & Schloerb and McCullough, Campbell & Lane, he retired at age 59. 

He wasn't passionate about law, his sons agreed. He was passionate about being the best parent he could be. Consistency made him special. His effort and energy made him legendary.

In addition to coaching his sons in youth sports for 20 years, he served on the District 97 school board in the 1980s, was a member of the YMCA board for 25 years, and served as president of the OPRF Huskies Booster Club for 10 years.

In the mid-1990s, he began writing his column for Wednesday Journal. 

After retiring, he joined a class on Great Thinkers taught by Redd Griffin. When Redd died, he and his classmates kept the group going. An avid reader and film buff, in his first year of retirement, he finished every novel by Charles Dickens, watched every Martin Scorsese film, and in one month viewed all of the James Bond movies.

And he connected more with Marsha. His one regret was not giving her enough attention when the boys were growing up. Other than that, he said, "I would live my same life over and over again."

"He was a great conversationalist," said his son, "Within 5 minutes, he'd have you talking about the meaning of life."

"His columns were like an instruction manual," said his son, Phil. "I just wish he had written one on, 'How do I get over your death?'"

He often told his sons, "You don't have to be what you've become" and he practiced what he preached. He lost weight. He stopped smoking and drinking. He ate a healthy diet. He changed.

About 10 days before he died, he emailed his sons and told them to pay attention to three things: "Your health, your mission, and the people you care about."

John Hubbuch is survived by Marsha, his wife of 49 years; his sons, Chris (Sarah), Nick (Brooke), and Phil (Carrie); his seven grandchildren, Lily, Ava, and Cole, Teddy and Ford, and Hazel and Jack; his brother, Bob Hubbuch (Sue); and his sister, Joan Erni (Pralle). He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis G. Hubbuch, and Ophelia (Simms) Hubbuch.

In lieu of flowers, etc., donations to Opportunity Knocks, 8020 Madison St., River Forest 60305 (www.opportunityknocksnow.org) would be very much appreciated.

A memorial service will be held for immediate family. A celebration of his life will be planned when the virus relents.

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Susan Hollis from Bexley, Ohio  

Posted: September 16th, 2020 8:15 PM

I am shocked and saddened to learn of John's death, even though I haven't seen him or Marsha often during the past 50-plus years. "Johnny" was a good friend of my brother, Chris, and those two guys together were hilarious and smart and lively?"so much fun to be around! And, that's when they were just high school boys! My husband, Kevin, went all through elementary school with John. We have several pictures of John and Kevin on the 6th grade basketball team. Deepest condolences to Marsha and John's sons and their families. You will miss him and I know he is missing you. A lifetime is too short of a time, and I am sorry you all must endure this terrible grief. Suzy (Zoeller) Hollis

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