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Joseph Moore Sodowski IV

August 8, 1926 May 20, 2015
Joseph Moore Sodowski IV
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Obituary for Joseph Moore Sodowski IV

VENICE, Fla. Joseph Moore Sodowski IV, 88, of Venice, Fla., formerly of Peoria, passed away at 9:35 a.m. Wednesday, May 20, 2015, at his residence.
Joe was born on Aug. 8, 1926, in Keokuk, Iowa, to the late Moore and Millie (Hicks) Sodowski. He married the love of his life, Lana Rose Barto, on Aug. 15, 1951, in Long Beach, Calif. She survives.
He is also survived by his children, Millie (David) Sodowski-Meyer of Morton and Joseph M. (Marietta) Sodowski V of Peoria Heights; grandchildren, Scott (Veronica) Elms, Matthew (Christina) Elms, Floyd Meyer, Joseph M. Sodowski VI, and Jenna Sodowski; and great-grandchildren, Ravin, Sophia, and Rosa Elms.
He was preceded in death by his stepfather, John Chiotte; and daughter, Tina Sodowski.
Joe was a graduate of Spalding Academy and Bradley University. He was a seaman 1st class in the Navy and is a plank owner of the U.S.S Atlanta CL-104, which he served on in World War II from 6/23/44 to2/18/46. He served on the U.S.S Atlanta CL-104 as a gun captain, firing a Bofors 40mm deck gun. He fought against the Japanese with task group 38.1 protecting fast carries from enemy fire at Honshu and Hokkaido. He was also a founding member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary in Peoria.
After Joes service to his country, he went to Bradley University on the GI Bill, where he earned his bachelor degree in architectural engineering. More importantly, he met the love of his life, Lana Rose Barto, whom he loved until his last breathe. When Joe was 16, Joe and his mother bought Kellys Beach from the Kellys and renamed it Sodowski Beach. As a boy, Joe would cause mischief at the amusement park at Alfriscos. It was only fitting for him to purchase the land next to his boyhood hang out. With the help of friends, a whole lot of dynamite, two dump trucks and a tractor, he later turned Sodowski Beach into Sodowski Boat Basin. In 1960, Joe built his first set of docks on top of the Illinois Rivers ice, and thus Sodowski Boat Basin was open for business. Friends and family grew up on the docks that floated in Joes harbor. Through the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s, he would hold multiple boater parties and the annual log races put on by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, where he always had plenty of cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. Joe accomplished opening his business while working full time as a truck driver and later a brewery worker at the Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery in Peoria Heights.
Joe obviously had a passion for the water. If it had a motor and floated, he was always ready for a ride. The only thing he loved more than a boat ride was being the captain of, Me Thou and I, Millie, River Bum, Reel Hooker, Popatop and Gulf Bum. Joe drove Reel Hooker from Sodowski Boat Basin, mile marker 167.5, Peoria Heights, down to Marina Town, mile marker 138.5 on the Okeechobee Waterway in North Fort Myers, Fla. In 1979, Joe later built his family home and wifes dream house in Punta Gorda Isles, Fla., where the family gathered every Christmas.
Joe worked hard every day, and attended church every Sunday as a former member of St. Peter Catholic Church. Even though Joe lived a very fast pace and active life, he always made time for family, friends and a cold beer.
A funeral Mass will be at 2 p.m., Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at St. Thomas Catholic Church. Father Thomas Taylor will officiate. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2015, at Wright Salmon Mortuary. An additional visitation will be one hour prior to the Mass at the church. Burial will be in Resurrection Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Alzheimers Association.
Friends may sign the online guestbook or send private condolences by logging onto


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