Benjamin Bokus


MENDOTA - Benjamin “Ben” Bokus, 19, of Mendota passed away on March 10, 2019 at OSF Saint Paul Medical Center, Mendota due to complications from leukemia treatment.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 15 at Holy Cross Church, Mendota with Father Peter Pilon officiating. Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 at the church. Merritt Funeral Home is assisting with the arrangements.

Ben was born Sept. 17, 1999 at Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru to Michael and Kaela (Navarro) Bokus.

Survivors include his parents of Mendota; his sisters, Anna Bokus and Lily Bokus both of Mendota; his paternal grandparents, Michael and Barbara Bokus of Mendota; maternal grandmother, Wendy (Rick) Smith of Ottawa; two great-grandmothers, and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Terry Navarro.

Ben graduated from Mendota High School in 2018 and was attending Illinois Valley Community College. He loved to compete. He loved to play many different sports although his first love was baseball. In junior high, he was the state champion in the 400M dash. In high school, he was a three-sport athlete playing football, basketball, and baseball. He received All Conference and All Area recognition in all three sports. During his senior year, he was a co-captain in all three sports.

Ben also excelled academically. He was an Illinois State Scholar, and twice an All-Big Northern Conference student athlete. He was a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. He tutored children at the local elementary schools during his junior and senior years of high school. He also spent time umpiring little league games and giving pitching and hitting lessons to area children. Ben was a very kind and loving person. He received several “pulley” awards in high school for helping to prevent bullying. He always helped those in need and was well liked and respected by his peers.

Ben was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in June 2018. He was being treated by St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. and the affiliate hospital in Peoria. He reacted to leukemia like everything else in his life. He was very brave and fought it with everything he had. Ben touched many lives during his brief time on earth. He will be sorely missed by his many friends and family members who love him dearly.

Memorials may be directed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or to the family for a memorial to be established.

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