John Carnes

Date of Birth

Dec 20,1932

Date of Death

Apr 17,2020

John Marshall Carnes, age 87, of Sycamore, passed away quietly into the arms of his Savior, Friday, April 17, 2020.
He was born December 20, 1932 in Sullivan, IL, to proud parents Walter and Hallie (Decker) Carnes.
John grew up in Sullivan and graduated from Sullivan High School with the class of 1951. John developed a strong work ethic, starting at age 8 as a newspaper delivery boy. John was known for his athleticism and made a name for himself in almost every school sport in middle and high school. During high school, he joined the National Guard but didn’t actively serve in the U.S. Army until the Korean War where he served stateside.
Upon his return to civilian life, John began a painting career that would span many summers as a teacher, while at the same time enrolling in Eastern Illinois University. He graduated with a B.S. in Education in 1958 and began teaching at Mooseheart Child City in Batavia where he also coached sports teams. In 1964 John taught at a Texaco Oil Camp in Venezuela, teaching 1st through 8th grades. Two years later, he returned to the U.S. and continued teaching, this time at Genoa High School where he taught Social Studies and coached the basketball team. John became the first male 4th grade teacher in Naperville the following year and obtained his Master’s Degree in Education from NIU in 1968. From 1969 to 1986 he was the principal of Sugar Grove Elementary in Kaneland School District 302 and assistant principal in the district’s consolidated grade school. He returned to Naperville in 1986 and taught at Beebe Elementary School until his retirement in 1993. After spending decades influencing future generations, John left the world of education and got busy working for Coach House Garages, selling garages handmade by members of the Amish community from Arthur, IL. Because of his outgoing and friendly charm, John was an excellent salesman and it wasn’t until after his 80th birthday that John finally gave his world class work ethic a rest.
In 1966, John was united in marriage to Donna Bennett and was blessed with three children. Later they would choose to walk down different paths in 1986. Janice Wright and John first met through Kaneland in 1969. Their paths would cross again years later and in 1991 their two hearts became one and they were married. John and Janice enjoyed many fun, active years together, spending time with family, horse-back-riding, camping, and attending University of Illinois football games with friends. John’s children will be eternally grateful to Janice, their “bonus mom,” for being by his side until the end as both his wife and tireless advocate.
John was an active member of the Hinckley United Methodist Church.
As a child of the Depression, John was always looking to give back to his community through food pantries. John’s family got through hard times with their humor and storytelling, two things John is most known for. John was lighthearted and fun, often bestowing the wisdom, “When times get rough, put your feet up and have a beer.” He never met a stranger and will be remembered for his friendliness. No matter how or when you met John, you always left with a bond of friendship that spanned the test of time. His heart was always open to love and his hands were always ready to work, no matter the time or the day. On snowy mornings, John would get up at dawn and plow all his neighbors’ driveways before work. John loved animals of all kinds, often helping stray animals find homes, but he was best known for his passion for horses. Since the late 1960’s, he owned horses and would get up early to feed them, go to work and then feed them again after work. Raffey and Raindrop were his favorite horses, and John’s children have great memories of Raffey or Raindrop pulling them in a buggy or sleigh throughout the year. John and his family spent weekends riding horses at home and at Kettle Moraine State Park in Wisconsin, making memories down every trail. Trips to the Boundary Waters in Canada with John’s twin brother Paul, nephews, friends and his son Stephen were never complete without fishing and portaging canoes for weeks at a time. Camping came naturally to John, and he taught his family to enjoy trips to Lake Shelbyville near his hometown of Sullivan. Days were spent horseback riding and the family spent evenings by the campfire, usually joined by John’s siblings and friends. You didn’t have to be camping for John to spook you as he was proud of making you jump and yell when he scared you any day of the week. John enjoyed travelling and appreciated other cultures. Additionally, John loved his Fighting Illini and bled “Cubby Blue.” He loved attending Cubs’ games with family and friends and Cubs’ games were always on the radio or t.v. when John was around. He also cheered on the Bulls and Bears every season. His family was most important to him and his love only grew as it got larger. Rides with Grandpa on the orange tractor, buggy or lawn mower provided smiles and laughs for everyone. John always put his kids and grandkids first. John bent over backwards helping his children at every turn, leaving a legacy of his love and generosity with every project and act of kindness.
He is survived by his loving wife Janice; three children: Julie (Steve) Larkowski, Laura (Tim) Carnes Daigle, Stephen Carnes; four grandsons: Caden John Carnes, William “Will” Stephen Larkowski, Ethan Bennett Daigle and Hayes Johnathon Daigle; three siblings: Hazel Jenne, Donald Carnes and Richard (Marla) Carnes; many nieces and nephews; and countless friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Hallie Carnes; six siblings: Frances Nelson, Edna Seitz, Aubrey Carnes, Louise Colclasure, Glenn Carnes in infancy, and a twin brother Paul Carnes.
Private family services have already been held. A Celebration of Life event will be held at a future date.
The family shares in John’s love of giving and highly encourages you to donate to your local food pantry in his memory. You may also send contributions to a memorial that has been established in John’s name to be donated to charities. Checks may be made to the “John Marshall Carnes Memorial” in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address, the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at through the “contact us” button.

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