John J Arena Jr. was welcomed into heaven on June 18th, 2022 at the age of 68. He is survived by his wife Alice and children John (Minsu), Joseph (Molly), Rachel (Dan), and Allison.
John was born on September 29th, 1953 as the first son of John and Katherine Jane Arena on the south side of Chicago, IL. As the son of a WWII veteran, he was raised to be hard working and a leader. He always looked after his siblings; Cindy, Mark, Kathi, and Matt. John worked through high school and paid for his own post-secondary education, while still supporting the family.
John was a man of integrity and drive, so it still comes as a surprise to many that John once had hair below his shoulders, drove a Harley, and listened to rebellious rock bands. He ran with a tough, but upstanding crowd consisting of Chicago Police Officers and Vietnam Vets. With them, he discovered one of his great passions in skiing and travelled to Colorado, Utah, and Canada to take on some of the most challenging ski runs around.
When back in Chicago at a White Sox game, by chance, he met the love of his life Alice. They quickly married and his great passion shifted to being a husband and a father for the next 39 years. There was an undeniable love between the two and they rarely left each other’s side. Together they raised four children and the family dog Rex, while still always finding time for a date night, a trip to Napa to have dinner in the vineyards, or even jet setting to explore Portugal together.
John’s greatest joy came from raising his four children. He had a unique and strong relationship with each. He travelled to South Korea to see the wedding of his son, John. He searched the country with Joe to find barbeque, battlefields, and watch college basketball. He officiated his daughter Rachel’s wedding. He always had a soft spot for his youngest, Allison, with whom he was able to explore Spain and Italy. John was a natural father figure and was looked up to by his nephew Adam, who served in the US Army, and niece Trisha, who served in the US Air Force, now Army.
John’s most rewarding career was as a financial advisor, where he could use his knowledge to help others have a better future. He worked hard for his family and saved diligently. In 2017 it paid off when he achieved his dream of finding a place where all his children gather when he and Alice moved to a lake home in South Carolina. His last years were spent peacefully looking out over the water, playing with his grand dogs Gumbo, Poogan, Belle, and Roux, and raising his dog Angel.
Most importantly, if there ever was a man who fought the good fight of faith and laid hold of his eternal life to which he was called and believed into, it was John. He walked the walk and lived in the Word. It was because of his faith in Jesus that John lived his life with a passion to help others. While John will be greatly missed, it gives the family great comfort that John was called home and heard the words; “Well done good and faithful servant.”
In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made in John’s honor to Cass Housing at https://www.casshousing.org/