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Local Radio Legend Don Ladas Dies at 85

Known as the "Voice of Joliet," the sportscaster's career spanned more than five decades.

Don Ladas spent five decades as a WJOL sportscaster and ad salesman. Credit: Submitted photo
Don Ladas spent five decades as a WJOL sportscaster and ad salesman. Credit: Submitted photo

Donald Paul Ladas Sr. “Don,” age 85, at rest on Sunday, January 19, 2014 with his loving family surrounding him.

Don is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, Mary Lou (nee Werner) Ladas; children, Sheri (Jonathan) Voss, Angie (Pete) Kapellas, and Donnie Jr. (Sarah Kozak) Ladas; grandchildren, Andrew, Abigail and Aidan Voss, Trent and Tessa Kapellas, Donnie III and Darcie Ladas. Numerous nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law, and brothers-in-law also survive.

Preceded in death by his parents, Gus and Leona (nee Maier) Ladas; one brother, Charles Ladas.

Don graduated from Joliet Township High School, Joliet Junior College and Bradley University. He went on to work for the Joliet Herald News as a journalist and was granted the opportunity to become a radio announcer for WJOL. This opportunity turned into a 55 year privilege. Being a radio announcer was more than a job to Don, it was his life. Don hosted the longest standing bowling show in the nation, called “Ten Pin Topics,” which also lead to a variety of different talk shows. He was also the owner and editor of the Will County Sportsman for 37 years. Don was a diehard Chicago White Sox fan and followed every Joliet sporting team. He was the former president and lifetime member of the Old Timers Baseball Association, the Joliet Noon Lions Club and numerous other clubs. Don was inducted into 14 Hall of Fames. Don had a commitment for fundraising for multiple sclerosis; he did this through hosting the MS Softball Games. Don was known as the Voice of Joliet, a voice which will be truly missed. 

In lieu of flowers donations in Donald’s name to Joliet Area Community Hospice or for Masses to be said at St. Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Plainfield would be appreciated.

The family would like to offer a special thank you to the entire staff at Joliet Area Community Hospice.

Arrangements

A celebration of Donald’s life will begin on Thursday, January 23, 2014 with prayers in the funeral home chapel at 9:30 a.m. then driving in procession to St. Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Plainfield for a Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Interment to follow at St. Mary Cemetery in Plainfield. Visitation will be on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at Tezak Funeral Home, 1211 Plainfield Road, Joliet, IL from 2-8 p.m.

Obituary and Tribute Wall for Donald P. Ladas at www.tezakfuneralhome.com or for information, 815-722-0524. 

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