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In Memoriam:  Stephen J. Platko

JOLIET, IL [MW Diocese Communications] — Stephen J. Platko, longtime choir director at Saint Nicholas Church here, fell asleep in the Lord suddenly on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

Born September 2, 1938 in Joliet, IL and a lifelong member of the parish, he served as choir director for 50 years and as parish council president for the past six years.  He graduated from Northwestern University, from which he received Bachelor and Master of Music Education degrees.  During his 35 year teaching career, Stephen was band director at Lockport Taft Grade School, choir director at Lockport West High School, band director at Tinley Park High School, and Supervisor of Fine Arts for the Bremen Community High Schools.  He also directed the Tinley Park Arts Alive Community Band for ten years after his retirement from full-time teaching.

In retirement, Stephen devoted his energies to music composition.  His works for symphonic band, orchestra, and voice have been performed at the International Midwest Band Clinic, WFMT Radio Chicago Composer Series, and at the Budingen, Germany Millennium Celebration.  His compositions have been featured by the Joliet American Legion Band, University of Kansas Concert Band, Lewis University Choir and by colleges and universities throughout the country.  Stephen was also a prolific composer of Orthodox liturgical works.  He received the Illinois Humanities Council “Studs Terkel Award” for the year 2000 for his musical accomplishments and community service for the Village of Tinley Park.  The Lewis University Choir will premiere his latest composition, “Lazarus of the Four Days,” on April 26, 2016 at Saint Charles Borromeo Chapel on the campus grounds.

Stephen was an inspiration to all who knew him.  Through his music he expressed his passion for life.  Through his life he taught much about the importance of family, self-reliance, humor, ingenuity, patience and civility.

Stephen was predeceased by his parents, John and Ann Platko, and his brother, Archpriest John Platko.  He is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, Georgine (Shaffer) Platko; their daughters Larissa (Ray) Barbee of Nashville, TN, and Beth (Matthew) Petersen of Chicago, IL; grandaughters Claire and Natalie Petersen; his sister Christine (Richard) Serkland of Alpine, TX; and one niece and several nephews and grandnephews.

Visitation will be on Sunday, March 6, 2016 at Saint Nicholas Church, 1000 Barber Lane, Joliet, IL from 3:00 until 7:00 p.m.  A Panikhida will be celebrated at 6:30 p.m.  Visitation will resume on Monday, March 7 at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Funeral service at 10:00 a.m.  Interment will follow at Saint Mary Nativity Cemetery, in Crest Hill, IL.

May Stephen’s memory be eternal.

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