John Gerald “Jerry” Pavlak, age 73, of Carpentersville, passed away on May 24, 2017 at home in Carpentersville. He was born January 20, 1944 to his parents, John and Vera Pavlak.

Jerry was born in Chicago and raised in Carpentersville by his mother, Vera, and step-father, Charles Bostwick.

Following graduation from high school, Jerry served as a Rifleman with the United States Marine Corps, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division during the Vietnam War, 1961-1965, twice extending his tour of duty. He achieved the rank of Lance Corporal, and received the Purple Heart for wounds received in action during the war. Other military decorations awarded included: Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, M-14 Rifle Marksman Badge, .45 Pistol Sharpshooter Badge and Good Conduct Medal.

Following his military service, Jerry graduated with his Associates in Applied Science in Mental Health from Elgin Community College in 1976, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Chicago State University in 1977. He went on to earn his Master of Science in Education from Northern Illinois University in 1980.

Jerry spent the majority of his professional career caring for youth and the disabled. He counseled children at the Kane County Youth Home and the Larkin Home for Children, and cared for disabled teens and adults at the Little City Foundation. At his core, Jerry was dedicated to achieving fairness and justice for those who could not stand up for themselves.

He went on to serve as a Business Agent for Teamsters Union, Local 330 in Elgin from 1995 to 2000. In 2001 he earned his teaching certificate and returned to his passion of influencing youth by working as a substitute teacher for Summit School in Dundee, IL. Following his teaching career, Jerry worked as a band promoter for a group called “Backyard.”

Jerry will be fondly remembered for his generous, caring heart. He was dedicated and loyal to his family, and loved spending time with his grandchildren. He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved making others laugh. In his free time, Jerry enjoyed listening to Rock music and pieces from his eclectic music collection, watching movies, and fishing. He was a member of the VFW Carpentersville Post 5195.

Jerry was preceded in death by his step-brother, Jack Bostwick.

He is survived by his daughter Kimberly Russ, and grandchildren Arika Rose Zemola and Nathaniel Zemola.

Visitation will be 1:00pm til time of Service with full military honors at 4:00p.m. Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, 305 Park St, Elgin IL 60120, Rev. David DeHaan officiating. Interment will be private at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL.

For more information call 847-741-1168 or visit

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