After a long, difficult battle with many health issues, lifelong Joliet resident Michael R. "Mike" Zigrossi passed away peacefully at Lightways Hospice on June 28, 2022, with his family by his side.
Mike attended and graduated from Cunningham (1965), Hufford Jr. High (1967), Joliet Central High School (1971), Lewis (College) now University (1975), Governor’s State University (1992) and Lewis University (2007) .
Mike discovered a love for cooking and preparing food at his first job at Byron’s Foods, where he met his best friend, Bert Lilek (who eventually became the owner when Elmer retired). In 2003, Mike and his brother-in-law, Ron Orsini, teamed up and won Best Sauce, Best Ribs and Best Overall at the Naperville Jaycee's Last Fling Amateur Rib cooking contest.
After completing his bachelor degree at Lewis, Mike returned to Joliet Central High School as a member of the faculty. He taught Sophomore English and Speech for the next 35 years. He enjoyed his years as class sponsor, especially at homecoming, when he and his students would create winning homecoming floats in his garage.
Throughout his many dedicated years, Mike tirelessly directed plays, musicals (alongside the late Robert Howell), contest plays and Children’s Theatre productions. He also coached the Speech Team, as well as the Girls and Boys Freshman Soccer teams. Mike’s proudest soccer moment was in 2002 when his Freshman boys won the SWSC conference championship after an undefeated season.
Always one who stayed active, Mike served as President of the Joliet Drama Guild from 1988-1992. He was a member of the Croatian Cultural Club for many years.
A lover of sports, this lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and son Marc were overjoyed to watch their team clinch the National League Pennant at Wrigley Field and then continue on to win the World Series in 2016.
Mike thoroughly enjoyed bowling, golfing, and playing softball. Greatly anticipated family fishing vacations were taken yearly to Birch Lake, MN during his childhood, and later, Cass Lake, MN was the destination.
After retirement, he worked at Woodruff Golf Course from 2012-2018.
A self-taught musician, Mike sang and played guitar and banjo for many polka and dance bands, including: The Lively Sounds of Ken Juricic, 20 Century Band, The Krystalites, and many others; Union Jack classic rock band; and most recently, he founded Cooler by the Creek country band along with his good friend and fellow teacher / musician, Charles Palia, Jr.
Mike is survived by his adoring and supportive wife of 46 years, Sandra (Spivey)
Zigrossi; three sons, Adam, Geoffrey and Marc, of whom he was so proud. Also
surviving are his dear sister, Susan Zigrossi (Ron) Orsini and brothers, Tim (Diane) and Terry (Ann) Zigrossi; mother-in-law, Marna Spivey; sisters-in-law Linda (Albert) Cox, and Marla Spivey; and brothers-in-law Randy (Barb) and Terry (Kara) Spivey, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents; Nick (2021) and Kay (Née Hoffmann) (2015) Zigrossi and father-in-law Lawrence Spivey (2006).
He will be deeply missed.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 6 between the hours of 2
p.m. and 7 p.m. at Blackburn-Giegerich-Sonntag Funeral Home, 1500 Black Road, Joliet, IL 60435.
Funeral service to follow at 7:00 p.m.; Rev. Anthony Nyamai officiating.
Per Mike’s wishes, cremation rites will be accorded following services.
Preferred memorials may be made as gifts in Mike’s memory to:
Lightways Hospice, 250 Water Stone Circle, Joliet, IL 60431 - Lightways.org.
Relatives and friends are encouraged to sign the online guest book by logging onto: www.PleseFuneralservices.com.
Funeral services and arrangements have been made under the
genuine care and direction of Kenneth A. Plese, in Joliet, IL - 815-735-2125.
We encourage you to wear a mask.
Services will be livestreamed. Please connect to the link: https://view.oneroomstreaming.com/authorise.php?k=1656701960193580