Pictured is an undated photograph of a young Charles ...
October 23, 2013
A good word, a smile and a funny story. These and more were the neighborly qualities of Mokenian Charles N. "Chuck" Hostert, who died Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the distinguished age of 91.
The beloved husband of Sally and the late Eleanore Meehan, Chuck's legacy is carried on by his children, Allan, David and Barbara. The stepfather of John Feutz, Margene Christenson, Kathleen Eikedahl, Janet Ziegler and Peggy Ryan, he was also the loving grandfather of 14, and great-grandfather to 12.
A lifelong resident of Mokena, Hostert was born June 3, 1922, at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet. Chuck was the second child born to Barney and Viola Hostert, his older sister being Bernice Haag, the younger siblings Norma Boyce, Eleanor Reaney and Art Hostert; the latter two having preceded him in death.
The name Hostert is one long associated with the progress of Mokena, Chuck's father having founded the Cooper & Hostert Ford Agency with Elmer Cooper in 1916. Many residents will attest that this well-known and respected business put Mokena on the map. In his youth, Chuck was a familiar sight at the agency's garage, which formerly stood at today's 11018 Front Street.
One also found an American hero in Hostert. During World War II, he served in the army of Franklin D. Roosevelt that would come to bring freedom to millions across the world.
In autumn 1943, he graduated a mechanic from the Army Air Force Technical Training Command at Gulfport Field, Miss. Mokena's The News-Bulletin boasted that the hometown soldier was then "fit for his important task in the war." The paper proudly followed Chuck during his military career, noting in early 1944 that he had completed further technical training at Chanute Field, Ill. and that by February of that year he had been detailed to Clovis, N.M.
Chuck was a keen fan of auto races and competed as a driver in the 1940s and 1950s. Taken from the headlines of a 1947 issue of The News-Bulletin, he narrowly escaped serious injury when his midget auto became wedged under a truck during a race at the Hanson Stadium in Chicago. He was what one would call a tinkerer; his enthusiasm for building and flying radio-controlled airplanes was one of his trademarks. Flying as a private pilot was also a passion for Chuck. The Chicago airports were the scenes of his entire career, having begun work as an aircraft mechanic, eventually becoming the manager of maintenance for United Airlines.
Chuck was also a man of civic pride; he served as a trustee on the Mokena Village Board from 1957 to 1961.
During his wartime service, he sent a letter home that read, in part, "I sure feel proud that I come from a town that remembers the boys who are in the service."
As he was then, Chuck Hostert will be remembered in Mokena for many, many years to come.
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