John J. Kozak of Chicago died peacefully on January 13, 2021 at age 80. Beloved husband of Catherine (née Michuda) for 51 years. Father of Jennifer Ferry (Joe), Joseph (Liz), and Gregory (Emily). Brother to Jeanne Kozak. Preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Valeria and brother James Kozak. Grandfather of Zachary, Nicholas, and Vincent Ferry; Josephine, Hazel, Penn, and Liam Kozak. Uncle and great-uncle to many more. John was a dedicated professor of chemistry at DePaul University, even teaching a class the day before he passed. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, John was a first-generation college student and went on to a remarkable career in academia that provided him with more than a dozen major awards and commendations from both American and international universities, as well as a lifetime of friendships forged with peers around the globe. His many roles included executive vice president for academic affairs at DePaul; provost at Iowa State University; dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and professor of chemistry at the University of Georgia, Athens; and multiple roles at University of Notre Dame, including professor of chemistry and associate dean of the College of Science. He proudly published over 200 papers, co-authored with his esteemed colleagues. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University, John received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1965. In addition to his passion for teaching and research, John loved traveling, reading, running, his Polish and Slovak heritage, music, art, studying languages, , a good rocking chair, a great meal with his family, and Notre Dame football. A celebration of John's life will be planned at a later date. Memorial donations can be made to the Harper Cancer Research Institute at Notre Dame or the Case Western Reserve University Cancer Research Innovation Fund. Memories and messages to John's family can be left at the online guestbook at Lakeview Funeral Home.
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Published by Chicago Tribune on Jan. 18, 2021.