John Joseph Cocoma, 78, of Durand, Illinois, died peacefully surrounded by his family the day before his 54th wedding anniversary. John was born to George and Elizabeth (Kaufmann) Cocoma on November 15, 1940, in Rockford, Illinois. Two of his four brothers (Al and George) went before him. He is survived by his Irish twin brother, Chuck Cocoma. John married the absolute love of his life, Susan Agnes Walsh, on July 31, 1965, which was clearly the best decision he ever made. The marriage worked, and they are the forever proud parents of five children: Anne (Mark) Pfluger, Chris (Liz) Cocoma, Katie (Chris) Bowron, Julie (Doug) Hammel, and Sarah (Stu) Friedman. Nine grandchildren followed, and “Grandpa” was a title he cherished. “Uncle John” was also a badge he wore proudly. After high school at St. Thomas in Rockford (Class of 1958) he served four years in the Navy. He was a Rockford police officer for several years, a career that never really left him. He then worked as an engineer at Ingersoll Milling Machine Company for 34 years, a career that defined him. If you were Dad’s friend, you knew it, and you were always invited to his kitchen table (or his handmade picnic table) to be properly fed. He preferred his own home-cooked meal over a fancy restaurant by a bunch. Dad was a devout and convincing Catholic, living this life with an eye towards the next. He was a daily communicant for the last decades of his life, until Alzheimer’s took most of his mind, but not his ability to pray. Dad was always the first to help. The first to comfort and support. If you were sick or hospitalized, he visited. No one knows how much money he gave the needy over the years, but it was a lot, and often. As the only German/Sicilian potato farmer in Laona Township, he donated literally tons of vegetables from his gardens to local food pantries. Dad enjoyed wood carving, drawing, shooting, and taking photographs. His work ethic was unmatched. In those 34 years at Ingersoll, he only missed three days of work. He loved anything that involved tools and sweat, like iron raking an entire yard. He could fix most everything, from skinned knees and lawn mowers, to thin gravy and a lack of self-confidence. He had one blackbelt in decision making and another in generosity. Dad got a kick out of telling jokes and hearing jokes. At Christmas time, he enjoyed going to Confessions, especially with people named Bob Vormezeele or Father Jerry Walsh, or anyone named Walsh. He loved planting flowers, arranging flowers, and giving flowers, especially tulips and orchids. He was kind and compassionate, the rare man who was as comfortable holding a newborn, as he was running into a burning building. He gave blood for over 25 years, because he just happened to have (of course) the rare blood that could be used for premature babies. Beyond being an undercover superhero, Dad was wise. He seemed to know something about everything: world history, rocks, the Old Testament, electricity, first aid. He was a resident priest, a part-time physician, a sometimes lawyer, a champion of the underprivileged, and of course he had a keen eye for fashion, all the while being humble. He could hold a conversation with anyone, from janitors to generals. He knew what to say at wakes and funerals. He made kids laugh. Old people loved him. Dad could bake, field dress a pheasant, paint, do advanced math, speak German, recite the Latin Mass, and sing Roger Whittaker songs, all with confidence and vigor. Heck, even his penmanship was spectacular. He held three PhDs: one in loving his family, one in providing for his family, and one in protecting his family. Yes, we are sad that he is gone, but mostly for ourselves. Our grief is soothed by our strong faith that our Dad is finally resting peacefully and that we will hug him again someday. Heaven sure did get a good one this week. And we will miss him every day. \r\nFuneral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, August 3, 2019 in St. Mary Catholic Church, 606 West Main Street, Durand, IL with prayers to be recited prior to mass at the funeral home at 9:30 a.m. Burial will be in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, Durand, IL. A visitation will be held at McCorkle Funeral Home-Durand Chapel, 101 W Main Street, Durand, IL from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., Friday, August 2, 2019 with a scripture service to be held at 7:45 p.m.\r\n\r\nIn lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N Michigan Ave, FL 17, Chicago, IL 60601 or Agrace Hospice, 6000 E State Street, Suite 100, Rockford, IL 61107.\r\n\r\nThe entire Cocoma family would like to acknowledge and thank the tremendous staff at Medina Nursing Center for the love, care and respect that they showed with Dad. Thank You!!