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John Garvey

June 21, 1957 ~ April 19, 2021 (age 63)


John Brendan Patrick Garvey, 63, of Champaign passed away at 6 a.m. Monday (April 19, 2021) at his home.

Funeral mass will be at 10:30 on Saturday April 24, 2021 at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 405 W. Clark Street, where masks and social distancing practices will be observed.  Father Joseph Donton will officiate. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Champaign. The visitation will be private.  

The family is planning an additional Memorial Service to take place this summer.  

John was born June 21, 1957, in St. Albans, New York, the son of John Joseph and Elizabeth (Browne) Garvey. John spent his childhood on the east coast, primarily in Maryland, where he earned a B.A. in French and English at Frostburg College. He came to the University of Illinois for graduate studies in Comparative Literature in 1978, and was a teaching assistant in the UI French Department. On their fourth day in Urbana, he met Barbara Oehlschlaeger. Two years later they were married on August 9, 1980, in Cincinnati, Ohio. In Champaign they raised three accomplished daughters of whom he was immensely proud.

He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years,  Barbara, his daughters Emilia (Errol) Packard, Therese (Mohammad Jawish) Garvey, and Madeleine (Joseph Leigh) Garvey, four grandchildren, Miriam, Frederick and Thelma Packard, and Dina Jawish; his father John Joseph Garvey, his five siblings, Matthew Garvey (Emily Severance), Maura Kohlhafer (Donald),  Peter Garvey (Laurie), Elizabeth Garvey, and Stephen Garvey (Gina),  as well as many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Elizabeth Browne Garvey.

John’s vocation was teaching. He taught French and Computer Literacy at University Laboratory High School for the past 25 years where he enjoyed his student’s creativity and dedication.  He delighted in sharing French language, literature and culture, as well as taking students on French trips to all corners of his favorite country.

One of the most avid readers on the planet, he loved words, particularly storytelling, etymology and crossword puzzles. John enjoyed listening to and making music especially that of Ireland, his grandparent’s birthplace. He was creative: he loved painting, camping, hiking, needlecraft, calligraphy, escape rooms and trivia. He tapped his own maple trees.  His greatest passion, however, was cooking, showing his love for others through simple dinners, holiday feasts, wedding cakes, Christmas cookies but he was always up for a culinary challenge. He found great fulfillment in his faith, serving as Eucharistic Minister, singing in the choir at Holy Cross Church for the last 20 years, and serving as a cantor there. John’s love for his children and grandchildren knew no bounds. As a parent, grandparent, teacher, and a friend, he always used his talents in the service of those he loved. We hope to carry on his life of service. Ubi caritas et amor. Deus ibi est.

 Memorials may be made to the Holy Cross Church Music Fund, 405 W. Clark Street, Champaign IL 61820 or to University High School ℅ University of Illinois Foundation.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Garvey, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Mass
April 24, 2021

10:30 AM
Holy Cross Catholic Church (Champaign)


Holy Cross Catholic Church
403 West Clark, Champaign IL 61820

University High School c/o University of Illinois Foundation

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