Obituary of Joseph L. Pomponi
Joseph L. Pomponi, age 86, of Northbrook, Illinois, passed away on Saturday, June 6, 2020 at his home with his family at his side and he was greeted in heaven by his daughter, Angelie and his son, Gile. Born in Kenosha on March 6, 1934; he was the son of the late Frank and Ada (Polentini) Pomponi. He attended local schools and graduated from Mary D. Bradford in 1952. He furthered his education by studying at U.W.- Parkside for two years; then graduated from U.W.-Lacrosse with a bachelor’s degree in 1959 and a master’s degree in 1964. In 1968, Joe attended Harry Wenelstedts’ Umpire School in Daytona Beach, Florida. He proudly served our country in the U.S. Army from 1955 until his honorable discharge in 1957. In 1958 he married Gilah Harris. They lived and worked in La Crosse, Chippewa Falls and Kenosha before finally making their home in Northbrook, Illinois, where they raised their five children. Joe was a Physical Education Instructor for the public schools in Winnetka, Illinois. He also served as basketball coach and director of sports for the Winnetka Park District. As a revered sports official, he had extensive experience working in baseball, basketball, and football for more than 30 years. During the Major League Umpire strike in 1979, Joe got "the call" and made his Major League Umpiring debut as the Chicago Cubs hosted the New York Mets. He was on call for the next decade and umpired a number of big-league games. In 1984, he umpired the National League Championship games between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs played in Wrigley Field. In 1987, Joe was voted “The Umpire of the Year” by the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association. Joe touched the hearts of many and made frequent trips to Kenosha to meet up with his family and friends. Left to cherish his memory is his loving wife, Gilah (nee: Harris); his sons, Frank, Anthony, (Jenny) and Jason (Debbie); his daughter-in-law, Eileen McKinney (Gile); his four grandchildren and his sisters, Luigina Wasilevich and Frances Kollman. A Mass of Christian Burial honoring Joseph’s life and interment in St. George Cemetery will be held privately with Joseph’s family. Memorial remembrances in honor of Joseph can be made to the charity of one’s choice.
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