Jonny Lee Sandusky, formerly of Benton

Jonny Lee Sandusky, known to those closest as simply "Jon," beloved father, husband, grandfather and friend, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in his home in Harlingen, Texas, on Jan. 19, 2023.

Jon is survived by his doting wife of 50 years, Marge (nee O'Leary); sons Patrick David (Katherine, nee Simmers) and Michael Peter (Sara, nee Schroeder); daughter Maureen Therese Hatfield (Bradley Hatfield); five grandchildren (Brendan 13, Jessica 13, Hannah 11, Fiona 7 and Victor 5); and three step-grandchildren (Noah 23, Caitlin 21 and Mariah 19).

Jon was preceded in death by his mother and father, Mardelle and James Virgil Sandusky, and his brother, Jimmy Earl Sandusky. Jon also left behind several other beloved family members, including Billy Sandusky (nephew, Harrisburg) and Jonah Ellis (niece, West Frankfort).

From humble beginnings in Benton, Jon served honorably as a member of the United States Army's 101st Airborne, where he "jumped out of perfectly good airplanes for no good reason." Jon graduated from Southern Illinois University with a B.S. in kinesiology before continuing on his path of public service with the Illinois Bureau of Investigations (now known as the Illinois State Police) as a homicide detective, attaining the rank of master sergeant before retiring after 22 years of distinguished service. Following his retirement from the ISP, Jon taught law enforcement at the Kankakee Area Career Center, where he continued his selfless dedication to others for another 14 years before officially hanging it up for the golden years.

Jon was a coach, a teacher, a mentor, a loving dog-dad (Willie, Tarah, Buster, Jake, Sam I and Sammy, each of whom were waiting for him with tails wagging at the Rainbow Bridge) and a friend to many. According to those who knew him best, Jon was about as old-school as one can be and lived life on his own terms right up until the end. He was an avid golfer and a fan of the Chicago Bears, the St. Louis Cardinals and was a Saluki through and through. While Jon spent most of his life in Illinois, he retired to his final home in Harlingen, Texas. Jon never shied away from a good (or even a not-so-good) "cee-gar," a country-fried steak from Denny's, anything sweet or the occasional bourbon. He loved "both kinds of music - country and western," and never met a stranger he couldn't chat up and find a connection. But above all else, Jon loved his family, loved his friends and was a man who led from the front, put others' needs ahead of his own, and was a true inspiration to all. He will be missed.

Visitation was Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, from 11 a.m. to noon at Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home in San Benito, Texas. A private interment followed at 2 p.m. at the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission, Texas. A celebration of Jon's life will be held on Aug. 12, 2023, at the Kankakee Boat Club in Kankakee. Additional information to follow. The family would like to send a special thank you to Ralph and Karen Peterson for all of their love and support ... it is beyond appreciated.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to Donja's Dog No-Kill Dog Rescue of South Texas, 4650 Morrison Road, Brownsville, Texas 78526 ( Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home, 1400 W. Business 77, San Benito, Texas 78586.