Cover photo for Norbert Garstka's Obituary
Norbert Garstka Profile Photo

Norbert Garstka

August 30, 1938 — August 13, 2020

Norbert Garstka

Norbert Vincent Garstka

Age 81 of Wilmington, passed away peacefully Thursday, August 13, 2020 at the Joliet Area Community Hospice Home.

Born August 30, 1938 in Chicago IL, Norbert was the son of Polish-immigrant and U.S. citizen Joseph Vincent Garstka (from Jazwiny, Poland), and Agatha (Agnes) Elizabeth Jachim, both of Chicago, IL.

The very talented longtime-resident of Wilmington and 1957 Graduate of Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood discovered his love for art while growing up in Chicago. Teachers recognized his artistic talent, and while in middle school Norbert was submitted for scholarship to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In high school, he was featured in the paper for drawing and painting a last-minute, free-hand drawn-mural for prom. Norbert later attended the Art Instruction School (AIS) and earned a Commercial & Advertising Art certificate. His passion grew into mastery and a career at Grate Signs of Joliet, where he retired as Chief Artist. His accomplishments are seen by millions throughout cities across the U.S. Notable designs and signs include many famously well-known restaurants, hotels, stores, banks, hospitals, etc., as well as, signs and banners for the 1996 Atlanta summer Centennial Olympic Games, officially known as Games of the XXVI Olympiad.

Norbert started his career as a mechanic and painter for the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway (EJ&E). He later worked as a "Class A" maintenance mechanic, scaled-field drawer, and blueprint reader at the Joliet Army Ammunitions Plant/Arsenal, then as an artist and designer at Shelby Craftco Corp.  Throughout his life, Norbert was an exquisite and exceptionally detailed artist, craftsman, and model-maker. He could immaculately draw, architect, construct, paint, and fix anything. Norbert was also well-read and enjoyed history, especially the Wild West, Civil War, and WWII eras. Family dared anyone to challenge him in Trivia!

Extremely patriotic, Norbert fulfilled his ultimate dream by enlisting in the U.S. Army to serve our great nation. He will be remembered as a simple and kind man who loved his family, his country, hobbies and animals. His amazing creativity, mechanical-mind, gentle spirit, loving smile, and "take-it-easy" parting good-wishes will be missed greatly. May he forever Rest In Peace in the arms of our Heavenly Father.

Norbert is survived by his brother Earl J. Garstka (and wife Susan) of McKinney TX, niece Debra Garstka Miller (husband John and family) of Frisco TX, nephew Dave Garstka (wife Angela and family) of Allen TX, and twin Garstka great-nephews Justin of Ogden UT and Jason of Madison City AL and both their families, as well as, several dear friends.

Norbert is preceded in death by his parents, uncle Frank Jachim, U.S. Army WWII Veteran, nephew Alan E. Garstka, U.S. Navy, as well as, many other loving uncles, aunts, and cousins.

Per his wishes, cremation rites have been accorded.

A private memorial service and inurnment with full military honors will be held at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood IL.

To the City of Wilmington and surrounding communities, the entire Garstka Family thanks you for 67 years.

In Lieu of flowers, preferred memorials may be made as gifts in Norbert’s memory to, or

Family and friends are encouraged to sign the online guest book, upload photographs, and share Norbert’s memorial page by logging onto:

Cremation services and memorial arrangements have been made under the direction and care of Baskerville Funeral Home in Wilmington (815) 476-2181

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Norbert Garstka, please visit our flower store.


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