Albert F. â€œAlâ€ Bergquist, 75, of Elburn, passed away at his home surrounded by the love of his family in the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009, after a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born Sept. 17, 1933, the son of Hilmer and Irene (Powers) Bergquist in Aurora.
Al grew up on the family farm in La Fox and attended local St. Charles and Geneva schools. His two passions in life were farming and racing motorcycles. Years of memories were made in the fields and on the dirt tracks of raceways across the country.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1955 and faithfully served his country until his father suffered from a stroke and Al was discharged to help his family back home.
Al gave his heart to his high school sweetheart, Joan Oksas, whom he met through friends. Love only grew over the years and when he returned on leave their two lives became one when they were united in marriage Dec. 29, 1955.
They began their new life and spent their first holiday together making their home on the corner of Route 47 and Keslinger Road in Elburn. Later they would live in town at the Batemanâ€™s house before moving to Pouley Road, where they have since made their home.
Al was a â€œjack of all tradesâ€ but he was a farmer at heart. He woke before dawn to tend the livestock, often only stopping after sunset. Always a hard worker, he also drove truck part time over the years for Stoverâ€™s, Bowgrenâ€™s and White Brothers Trucking. Later he served as the Road Commissioner for Blackberry Township for 20 years, retiring in 1997. Upon retirement Al continued to work for the township plowing the snow in winter. He helped put together John Deere lawn tractors for Ehlers Recreation, Lawn and Garden in Elburn for many years. In 1992, Joan and Al bought a used Goldwing motorcycle from a neighbor. Thereafter, they spent weekends on the road, riding from state to state and coast to coast from March through October. They traded up to a new one 1996 and moved to a Trike in 2003.
He was a life member of the American Motorcycle Association as well as the GWRRA Illinois B-2, DK of DeKalb, Chapter V in Batavia and was director of Enduros District 17. He followed family tradition by serving on the board of the Elburn Co-Op for 17 years and was a long-time member of the Illinois Highway Commissioners Association. When not riding or working, he and Joan loved their time dancing as part of the square dancing club, Fox Valley Mixers, later called the Sugar Squares. Al also was a member, along with many of his friends, of the Fox Hunters Club.
Al had adventure in his heart and participated in a 500-mile snowmobile race during Winter Carnival from Winnipeg, Canada, to St. Paul, Minn., in 1974 and 1975. In 1966, Al made a nine-pony hitch that was sponsored by Moorman Feed. They were featured in many parades here and in Chicago. As the children were growing up and helping on the farm, he often would remark when it came to dressing for the weather that you had to make a choice, â€œDo you want to be warm or do you want to look pretty?â€ The answer he preferred was the former, making them dress in overalls and snow suits. He made the miles fly by on his Goldwing, when he participated in the cross-country Enduros Race and won more nationals than he lost from 1950 until his last race in 1992. Al was a man unto himself and was never late to lend a hand to anyone. He would do anything for his family and has left thousands of memories scattered across the countryside and in the special place where he’ll live forever in the hearts of his family.
He now leaves his loving wife, Joan Bergquist; four children: Vicki Bergquist of Elburn, Al â€œButchâ€ (Connie) Bergquist of Troxel, Barbara (Patrick) Bradford of Maple Park, and Mary (Chuck) Liss of Elburn; six grandchildren: Rebecca, nee Bradford, (Ronald Jr.) Edwards of Sycamore, Ben Bradford of Maple Park, Blake Bradford of Maple Park, Mackenzie Liss of Elburn, Allison Liss of Elburn, Chucky Liss of Elburn; two great-grandchildren, Shelby and Bradford Edwards, both of Sycamore; three siblings: Carl (Sharon) Bergquist of St. Charles, Alice Nickels of Monroe, Wis., and Norm (Diane) Bergquist of Elburn; one sister-in-law, Carol Fabrizius of Maple Park, and one brother-in-law, Bob Oksas of Maple Park; many nieces and nephews and a family of friends.
He now joins his parents, one sister-in-law, Diane Oksas and a brother-in-law, Joseph Fabrizius, and a mother-in-law, Hazel Oksas who preceded him in death.
Visitation was Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009, at the Lord Of Life Church, on the corner of Route 38 and LaFox Road in La Fox. A funeral service to celebrate his life was held at the church, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009. Rev. Phil Ressler, pastor of the church, officiated and interment followed at Blackberry Township Cemetery.
A memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the â€œAl Bergquist Memorialâ€ and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com. Arrangements were handled with care by Conley Funeral Home.