MENDOTA - Clifford “Cliff” Louis Sondgeroth, 88, of Mendota, passed away on January 22, 2021 at OSF Saint Paul Hospital, Mendota. Cliff died of complications brought on by a COVID-19 infection.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at Holy Cross Church, Mendota with Rev. Peter Pilon officiating. Burial will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, Mendota with full military honors by Mendota V.F.W. Post 4079. Pallbearers will be Kyle Sondgeroth, Carl Gustafson, Craig Sondgeroth, Eric Kelsey, Kurt Wright, Mark Stouffer and Daniel Ladd.
Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota is assisting the family with arrangements.
Cliff was born July 17, 1932 in Mendota to Charles and Katherine (Walzer) Sondgeroth, the sixth of eight children. He married his soulmate, Geraldine (Geri) Funfsinn on June 20, 1953 at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Peterstown.
Survivors include his beloved wife of 67 years, Geraldine Sondgeroth of Mendota; one son, Steven (Kathleen) Sondgeroth of Peru; two daughters, Michelle (Steven) Stouffer of LaMoille and Jane (Jeffrey) Berman of Buffalo Grove; eight grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; one brother, David (JoAnne) Sondgeroth of Mendota; and one sister-in-law, Katherine Funfsinn.
Cliff was preceded in death by his parents, his step-father William Haub, three brothers, Lester Sondgeroth, Robert Sondgeroth, and Gene Sondgeroth, and his three sisters, Bernice Corrigan, Rita Miller, and Pearl Blair.
He attended parochial school at Sts. Peter and Paul School in Peterstown, Illinois, near Mendota, and stopped formal schooling after grade school to begin a long life of hard work as a farmer. In his teen years, he worked on the Sondgeroth family farm and as a hired man for other farmers. Cliff entered the U.S. Army in 1954 and was proud of having served his country in Japan for two years after the Korean War. After his return, Cliff and Geri bought their first farm together south of Arlington. They lived, farmed and raised their family there. Cliff and Geri moved to Mendota in 1985 to spend their retirement years in the home he helped to build. The word “retired” never fit Cliff, though, as he was a relentless hard worker. During retirement, he worked as a part-time delivery driver for AgView FS in LaMoille. He never wanted to be idle and somehow always turned his hobbies into businesses. Cutting wood for the fireplace yielded a firewood delivery business. Fishing during winters in Florida led to a commercial fisherman’s license so he could sell fish and crabs to fishmongers. His pastime of picking up aluminum cans became a venture in selling all kinds of scrap metal and used equipment he refurbished in his garage. One of his many witty mottoes beloved by his family was “the harder I work, the luckier I get.” Cliff was a devoted Catholic and supporter of his church, St. Patrick Church in Arlington for many years. He was an active member of the Holy Name Society of the church and served as a church trustee. In later years, he and Geri attended Holy Cross Church in Mendota. He was a member of Mendota Elks Lodge 1212. He will be deeply missed by his big family, which was his pride and delight.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish to make memorial donations in his name may direct them to Holy Cross Church in Mendota or the donor’s choice. Online condolences to the family may be left at www.merrittfh.com.