Lawrence E. Poleski, 72, of Forest Park, formerly of Oak Park, died on Oct. 15, 2019. Born on Nov. 2, 1946, he defied the odds his entire life. His father died when he was 11, leaving his 43-year-old grandmother with six young sons and a daughter. He attended three high schools, in four years, eventually finding his way to a successful career in the printing industry. Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, a disease expected to reduce life expectancy to around 50 years, he beat the odds again. When he married Janet Rogers, they planned on a small family, ending up with seven children, putting him in the position of trying to meet both the family’s emotional and financial needs. He figured it out. 

According to his son Matt’s eulogy, he taught his kids three lessons:

Invest in your family and community; it pays huge dividends: “Financial investments provide security, but emotional investments provide love. My dad put all of his kids through Ascension School and five of us through Fenwick High School because he valued the communities. He knew by using people in the community to serve as role models for us, he could effectively give us the one-on-one coaching we needed to thrive.”

How to listen, be there for you, and let you make your own decisions: “My dad made people laugh through empathy and directness.”

How to throw a party: “The front door to my parents’ house was always open and unannounced visits were always welcome to sit down and watch a White Sox, Bears, or Bulls game.” 

Larry Poleski was the husband of Janet (nee Rogers); the father of Matthew (Wendy), Michael (Kimberly), Margaret (Alfonso Cides), Mindy, Lawrence B. (Kathleen), Elizabeth (Nathan) Matarazzi and Emily (Kyle) Gulling; the grandfather of 17 with one on the way; the brother of Thomas (Patricia), Andrea (the late James) Barr, Kenneth (Denise), Robert Poleski, and the late Norbert (Mary Ellen) and the late Stephen Poleski. He was the son of the late Ben and Marguerite Poleski. 

Visitation was held on Oct. 20, at Peterson-Bassi Chapels/Gamboney & Son Directors, 6938 W. North Ave. Funeral Mass was celebrated on Oct. 21 at Ascension Church in Oak Park, followed by interment at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.