John N. Bellcoff, 90, of Edwardsville and formerly of Madison, Illinois passed peacefully on February 17, 2013 with his family by his side at Relais Bonne Eau Hospice House in Edwardsville.
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Born June 6, 1922, in Madison, Illinois, to the late Naum and Dana, nee Rochkova Markuly, Bellcoff, John graduated from Madison High School in 1940. He married Diana, nee Nickoloff, Bellcoff on September 20, 1959 in Madison and she survives.
He attended Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in Political Science while working side by side with his father at Bellcoff and Son Grocery in Madison. He was drafted and served in the US Army in World War II in the European theatre and attained the rank of staff sergeant.
Upon his return from serving his country, John began his banking career at the 1st National Bank in Madison where he retired as Vice President in 1993. In addition to his career in banking, John had a passion for people and began his 50 years of service to the people of his community in 1947 when he became a Madison Fireman. He spent 21 years on the Fire Department and was Assistant Fire Chief. He had also held with great honor, his funeral directors license, working with Sedlack Funeral Home in Madison and assisting other funeral homes in the community with many years of service. John's political career began in 1951 when he was first elected to the Madison School Board. He served on the school board for 19 years and was School Board President for 15 of the 19 years. In 1967 John was elected City Clerk of the City of Madison and served as City Clerk for 18 years until 1985 when he was elected Mayor.
He was Mayor for 12 years until he retired in 1997. In addition to being Mayor of Madison, John was also Madison County Democratic Chairman from 1990-1994.
John not only served the people of the City of Madison but he also served the citizens of Madison County and the surrounding Metro East/Bi-State Area. Serving on the Madison County Board of Review 1957 - 1961, Tri-City Regional Port District 1963 – 997(Chairman for 5 years), Charter Member of Southwestern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission 1968 – 2013, Past President of Southwestern Illinois Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Commission, Executive Board Member of East-West Gateway Coordinating Council, Past President of Bi-State Development Agency, Executive Board Member of Boy Scouts of America and St. Elizabeth's Medical Center Advisory Board.
John was also very proud of his lifelong memberships in many organizations including Madison Amvets, VFW, American Legion, Madison Lions Club, St. Mary's Men's Booster Club, Croatian Fraternal Union Lodge 222, Masonic Lodge, DeMolay Legion of Honor and Ainad Temple Shrine and was bestowed the Shrine's Highest Honor of 33 Degree in 2000.
John has been a lifelong member of Holy Trinity Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church in Madison, in which he served on the board for over 45 years. In 1997, John retired after 50 years of public service. He devoted countless hours of his life and talent to serving people. He took great pleasure in serving on the many civic boards and organizations over the years as it was his way of always helping others, spreading good will and touching the lives of countless individuals, both friends and strangers, in so many ways.
In addition to his beloved wife of 54 years, Diana, he is survived by his two daughters and son-in-law, Kathy and Tim Childers, of Edwardsville, Ill., and Norma L. Bellcoff of Edwardsville, Ill. John has one cherished grandson and namesake, John and his very special little doxie "Skeeter". John is also survived by brother-in-law, Robert Don Reeves, sisters-in-law, Mary Nickoloff, Elsie Nickoloff and Ellen Nickoloff, many nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and great, great nieces and nephews and cousins.
In addition to his beloved parents, John was preceded in death by his two sisters, Dina, nee Bellcoff, Blattner and Sylvia, nee Bellcoff, Reeves, in-laws Elia and Yagna, nee Saroff, Nickoloff, brothers-in-law, Nick E. Nickoloff, Christ E. Nickoloff, John E. Nickoloff, Steve E. Nickoloff, Matthew Blattner and sister-in-law, Helen Nickoloff.
In celebration of his life, visitation will be at Irwin Chapel, 3960 Maryville Road in Granite City on Friday, February 22, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. with a Panikhida wake service at 6:30 p.m. followed by a Masonic service at 7:00 p.m.
A Divine Liturgy mass will be celebrated at the Holy Trinity Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church, 1300 Grand Avenue in Madison on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. with The Very Reverend Michael Arbanas as celebrant. Burial will be at Sunset Hill Memorial Estates in Glen Carbon.
The family requests memorial donations to The John N. Bellcoff Tamburitzan Scholarship at Southwestern Illinois College Foundation or to Hospice of Southern Illinois Relais Bonne Eau Hospice House in Edwardsville and may be accepted at the funeral home.
Published in Edwardsville Intelligencer from Feb. 19 to Feb. 20, 2013