John Tolan

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John “Jack” Ray Tolan, 94, of Freeburg, IL, born April 12, 1927, in New Athens, IL, died Thursday, February 17, 2022, at New Athens Home for the Aged, New Athens, IL.

Mr. Tolan graduated Salutatorian of his class in 1945 from the New Athens High School. During WWII, John served in the United States Army as a SGT from July 27, 1945 to January 15, 1947 as an Occupation Warden of P.O.Ws. After his service, John had several employers, and for 20 years, he worked at Union Electric as a Senior Boiler Operator/Water Treatment Operator and retired in 1986 at the age of 59.

He was a former member of the Evangelism Committee, the Men’s Fellowship and Meals on Wheels. John loved music and enjoyed singing. He was a member of the Chancel Choir in both Waterloo and Granite City, IL, a member of the Men’s Barbershop Quartet, Waterloo, IL, and a leader of the McNamara’s Tolan Family Band. He enjoyed Rooting for the Cardinals – especially during the 80’s with Whitey Ball, hunting, fishing, playing cards, camping, traveling, and was an excellent dancer. He met the love of his life, Mardell, on the dance floor at the Shamrock Dance Hall in New Athens, IL.

Jack loved and supported his family with unconditional love. He was a faithful servant and loved the Lord. If you knew him, you would know his favorite saying was “Keep Smiling”. John enjoyed entertaining the residents of the New Athens Nursing Home with songs, especially with his favorite, You Are My Sunshine.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Florence, Nee Hoehn, Tolan; a brother, Terry, and sister-in-law Shirley Tolan; and an infant brother, Roy Tolan.

Surviving are his wife of 70 years, Mardell L., nee Valentine, Tolan, whom he married on September 15, 1951; two daughters, Maureen Marie (Fred) Hoffman of Grandview, MO, and Mary Ellen (Richard) Moore of Hamilton, AL; a son, John Charles (Carol) Tolan of Freeburg, IL; six grandchildren, Eric (Becky) Hoffman, Matthew (Callie) Hoffman, Jonathan (Kalyn) Moore, Joshua Moore, Hannah Tolan, and Andy (Kiira) Tolan; 15 great-grandchildren, Madison, Mary Kate, Max, Maverick, Colter, Jude, Clare, Rudy, Emily, Levi, Elsie, Lawson, Barrett, Rowan, and Georgia; and two sisters, Patricia (Jim) Dunn, and Mary Kathryn (Henry) Kaminski.

The Tolan family would like to extend a special thank you to the entire staff at the New Athens Home for the Aged, especially Diana Kunkelmann, for her tender care and compassion, along with Hospice of Southern Illinois for their amazing support and care.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois, or to the New Athens Home for the Aged. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation:  Friends may visit from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 5, 2022, at Journey Church, Freeburg, IL.

Funeral:  A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 5, 2022, at Journey Church, Freeburg, IL, with Pastor Harvey Gaither officiating. Military funeral honors will follow the service.


9 Comments on John Tolan

Christy Pursell said : Guest Report Mar 02, 2022 at 4:11 PM

Mardell and family, I was so sorry to hear of the passing of John. What a wonderful man he was a wonderful couple he and Mardell made. They were also so kind & welcoming and so generous with their time and talents to help at church (St John UCC, Collinsville). Prayers for peace during this time!!

  • St Jacob
  • IL
JUDY BROMBOLICH said : Guest Report Mar 01, 2022 at 1:21 PM

So sorry for your loss. you two were SO special to me. Will keep you in my prayers.

  • Maryville
  • IL
Judy Brombolich said : Guest Report Mar 01, 2022 at 1:19 PM

So sorry for your loss. You both were So special to me. Will keep you in my prayers.

  • Maryville
  • IL
Chuck and Linda Hasse said : Guest Report Feb 27, 2022 at 11:02 AM

We were sorry to hear of the passing of your husband. You babysat for our daughter Melissa back in the 70’s. Take care and God Bless!

  • Granite City
  • Il
Mike and Mary Blaies said : Guest Report Feb 23, 2022 at 12:37 PM

You have our deepest sympathies. Mary and Mike Blaies

  • Freeburg
  • Il
Vi and Ken Willis said : Guest Report Feb 23, 2022 at 11:01 AM

Dear Mardell..You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers..may the Great Comforter bring you peace..🙏❤️🙏

  • Leavenworth
  • Kansas
Becky Crow said : Guest Report Feb 23, 2022 at 9:20 AM

My heartfelt condolences to the whole family. Im positive heaven gave Jack a warm welcome.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Chiyoko Louise Miller Gussin said : Guest Report Feb 22, 2022 at 11:15 PM

My condolences to the family, so nice to acknowledge Diana Kunkleman. 💕

  • Eureka
  • CA
Ann Keelin said : Guest Report Feb 22, 2022 at 7:16 PM

He gave so much and I know will be greatly missed. Our hope built on Christ Jesus you will be with him again. It's the greatest thing we have. My love to you all.

  • Pickerington
  • Ohio

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