John Richard Litster
Last updated 4/19/2023 at 4:14pm | View PDF
John Richard Litster, 93, died Feb. 10, 2023, at Lexington of Lombard following a brief time under hospice care.
He was born in 1929 in Chicago to Louise and Percy "Tink" Litster, spending his childhood on the west side of Chicago as one of six children. He enjoyed classwork and playing football at Morton High School, where he graduated in 1947. He continued his studies and time on the gridiron at Morton Junior College and Washburn University.
John joined the Army in January 1952 and was honorably discharged as a private first class in January 1954. G.I. Bill in hand, he finished his undergraduate work at the University of Illinois, earning a bachelor's degree in history and later receiving both a master of arts and master of science in history. He spent his teaching career at Oak Park-River Forest and Proviso West high schools teaching world history, but then embarked on a second career as a letter carrier for the U.S. Post Office Hinsdale branch, from which he retired in 1999 at the age of 70. His route included downtown Hinsdale, where he became friends with many merchants and often patronized their shops for gifts for his wife.
He met his future wife, Sandra Swanson, while teaching at Proviso West. The two were married in November 1962 and moved to Western Springs shortly after.
There they raised their two sons, Dan and Matt, and were involved in the First United Methodist Church of Western Springs. John taught junior high Sunday school with Sandra and was a dedicated servant to the church.
Traveling was a passion for John and Sandra, who spent three months in Europe the summer after they were married. They traveled overseas and to the American Southwest many times. A highlight of his life was being baptized in the Jordan River during a church trip to Israel. His passions were reading books on history and biographies, perusing his New Yorker Magazine and listening to and reading about Mozart. He and Sandra spent many seasons as ticketholders at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera.
John is survived by his sons, Dan (Pam Lannom) and Matt (Colleen); his grandchildren, Gibson, Gannon, Gatlin and Ainsley; his sister, Marianne (the late Jim); his brother, Ken (Kathy); his brother-in-law, Glenn (Sharon) ; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and -nephews
He was preceded in death by his wife, Sandra, in 2017; and his siblings, Don, Marilyn (the late Frank) and Laurie (the late Bill).
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at the First United Methodist Church of Western Springs, 4300 Howard Ave.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Hinsdale Public Library at 20 E. Maple Street, Hinsdale, IL 60521 or online at http://www.hinsdalelibrary.info.