KEWANEE - Alfonso "Al" Manuel Padilla, 96 of Kewanee passed away at 4:15 p.m., Thursday, December 31, 2020 at the Kewanee Care Home.
Al was born on June 17th 1924, the son of Miguel "Mike" and Serafina (Nee Gomez) Padilla. He began his life long career as a carpenter at age 13, building a chicken coop, eventually founding a partnership in United Woodworking cabinet shop as a millwright. Later he would become president of the Peoria Carpenters Union Local 237 and then Superintendent of construction, spanning a career of 50 years. He was active in scouting for many decades and served on the Illowa Council, an active member of the Order of the Arrow and recipient of the Silver Beaver award. Al was named "Silent Giant" by Visitation School being the first of three generations to graduate, where He then went on to graduate from Kewanee High School. He was a member of the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus becoming a former Trustee, Grand Knight and Faithful Navigator.
In November of 2000 he received Papal Honors from the Vatican. Al's keen intellect was honed by his self-studies of engineering, philosophy, theology, history and cuisine. He helped as a translator for Spanish speaking families. He was always there when others were in need and he left those he met with a smile on their face. His quick wit and endless stories still linger fondly in the memories of family and friends. He served His country and the people of the great state of Illinois in the Army National Guard as a Staff Sergeant and acting first Sergeant before being honorably discharged. In 1948 he married the only love of his life the beautiful Martina Theresa (Martha, Nee Martinez). They became a pair of adventurers, who made a life and family together. For 53 years, up or down, thin or flush they remained at each other's side. They were deeply devoted to their family, the Catholic church both locally in St. Mary's Church, and abroad. The food bank and many other charities benefited from their combined efforts, for she was the foundation and he was the drive.
His wife preceded him in death, as did their youngest devoted daughter Elena and their youngest loving son Stephen. He is survived by his eldest daughter Rebecca and her husband Michael Prince and his eldest son Henry Puente and his wife Noemi. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Joe Polowy and his wife Jennille, Tom and his wife Allison, Steven and his wife Melina, John Carlos, Justin, Baldwin and six great grandchildren, Honor, Kal-El, Hawkeye, Hatcher, Anderson and Sophia.
The Padilla family would like to thank the Rux family, to which he was good friends with Jerry Rux. Also, thank you to the many people who cared for him at the Kewanee Care Home. Finally, a special thanks goes out to his extended family and friends on all sides, who looked after him for these many years when we were far away.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, August 4 at Saint John Paul II Parish in Kewanee with Fr. Johndamaseni Zilimu officiating. Al was interred with Martha and their children at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Kewanee. Donations can be made in the Al and Martha Padilla name to the Kewanee Food Pantry or Catholic Social Services. Rux Funeral Home in Kewanee is in charge of arrangements.
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