Bernard John "Bernie" Empen
1934 - 2021
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Bernard "Bernie" John Empen 1934—2021
Bernard "Bernie" John Empen, 86, of Forreston, passed away, Friday January 8, 2021 at Manor Court, Freeport. Mr. Empen was born August 23, 1934 in Ashton, Illinois, the son of Bernard A. and Josephine (Burken) Empen. He married Iris O'Hare in Polo on June 28, 2008. He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army- Reserves. He worked as a Dairy Farmer for many years. Later he was employed by Swiss Valley Farms, Vet Way, and Eastland Feeds. He was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church, Polo, for 77 years, Forreston Lions Club where he served as Past President, Ogle County Farm Bureau, and A.M.P.I. Bernie was also Chairman for Forreston Hometown Days, ran the game clock for 25 years for Forreston football games. Bernie was an avid Chicago Bears and Cub fan. He was a proud member of the table of knowledge. Above all else Bernie cared deeply about his family. Surviving are three sons, Jon (Margo) Empen of Dixon, Dan (Lisa) Empen of Lake Villa, and Daryl (Cynthia) Empen of Rock Island; daughter, Laurie Empen of Chicago; three step-sons, Michael (Joni) O'Hare of Stillman Valley, Tim (Lynn) O'Hare of Byron and Jim (Kelly) O'Hare of Stillman Valley; two brothers, Joe Empen of Forsyth and Ron (Pat) Empen of Winnebago; four sisters, Rosemary, O.P. Empen of Footville, WI., Shirley (Jack) Modjallal of Encino, CA., Phyliss Gibson of Madison, WI., and Carol Glenn of Milledgeville; also surviving are four grandchildren, Nils and Ian Empen and Cade and Carter, Empen. Bernie was preceded in death by his parents. Private family funeral mass will be Friday January 15, 2021 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Polo. Visitation will be held 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Thursday January 14, 2021 at Burke Tubbs Funeral Home, Forreston. In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established in Bernie's memory. Please sign his guestbook and share a remembrance at

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Published in The Freeport Journal Standard from Jan. 12 to Jan. 13, 2021.
Funeral Mass
St. Mary Catholic Church
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Burke-Tubbs Funeral Home Forreston - Forreston
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2 entries
January 14, 2021
I extend my thoughts and prayers to your family for your loss. When a parent dies, we reflect on the influence he had on our lives. Bernie was a man of concern for others, hard work and ethics to support his family.

I always enjoyed meeting Bernie because he smiled and was interested in others. For many years I remember he would come to the drugstore and buy one lottery ticket.

Many people hope each of you find comfort and small moments of smiles in the days ahead.
Margaret A Tyne
January 13, 2021
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