CHAMPAIGN – Frederick Horace Kouka, 88, passed away on Saturday (Jan. 26, 2013) in Urbana.
He was born on March 13, 1924, in Chicago. Fred grew up on the south side of Chicago in Beverly. Upon graduating from Tilden Technical High School, he worked for Chicago Bridge and Iron (CBI) until old enough to enlist in the Army.
He was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), trained in England, and served in China. After the war, he was an officer in the National Guard.
Beginning his postwar career with CBI, Fred learned all aspects of construction and engineering of steel structures and received many patents for his designs. He traveled extensively to numerous countries managing large-scale projects. He was vice president of Marine Operations when he retired at age 55 after 37 years with the company.
Fred was fondly known as Bud by close family members and generations of relatives at Moose Lake in northern Wisconsin. Throughout his life, Bud spent every vacation at the lake. He and many of his extended family were members of a club started by his father and a few other men back in 1912. He built a summer home in this remote area of the North Woods, which holds such special meaning to everyone in the family. His ashes will be spread there.
Fred married Alice Nichols in 1945, who preceded him in death in 1998 after 52 years of marriage. They had three children, raising them in Chicago, Scotch Plains, N.J., and Western Springs, Ill.
They retired to Jacksonville, Fla., where they enjoyed boating and being a part of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Fred had a lifelong hobby of designing, building and flying radio-controlled model airplanes and was instrumental in establishing a new flying field in Jacksonville. He also organized the residents where they lived to construct a model railroad room.
Fred married Joan Splane in 1999 and she survives. They moved to Champaign and shared 14 years of marriage. They traveled and enjoyed many cruises together.
Fred was preceded in death by his son, John (Kris) Kouka of Champaign.
He is survived by his daughter, Carol (Mike) Haywood of Austin, Texas; his daughter, Janet (Mel) Fros of Urbana; his stepson, Cary (Emily) Splane of St. Augustine, Fla.; his grandchildren, Rebecca (Brian) Morrison, Alyson (Jeff) Lewis, Eric (Kristin) Kouka, Kimberly (Chris) Zepeda, Renata Fros and Daniel Fros; his step-grandchildren, Taylor Splane, Madeline Splane and Luke Splane; his great-grandchildren, Liam Kouka, Elizabeth Lewis, Lily Morrison, Davis Kouka and Jane Lewis.
A visitation will be held at Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, Savoy, on Thursday, Jan. 31. The family will be greeting friends and relatives from 5 to 7 p.m.
A memorial service will be held at First Mennonite Church, 902 W. Springfield Ave., Urbana, on Friday, Feb. 1, at 11 a.m. Lunch will follow.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family requests memorial donations be made to Provena Hospice or a charity of your choice.
Special Thanks to Fred's hospice team and the staff at Bickford Cottage.