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John Martin Golby

NEPONSET - John Martin Golby, 82, of rural Neponset, died at 12:15 a.m., Thursday, June 5, 2014 at his home.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, June 12 at Visitation Church, St. John Paul II Parish (former St. Mary’s Catholic Church) in Kewanee. Celebrant will be Fr. Johndamaseni Zilimu. Visitation will be held from 3:00-7:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 11 at Rux Funeral Home in Kewanee where a rosary will be recited at 7:00 p.m. Burial will be in Floral Hill Cemetery in Neponset where military rites will be accorded by the Neponset American Legion. Memorials may be directed to the Barbara Curran Golby nursing scholarship through the Black Hawk East College Foundation (in memory of his wife, Barb), Neponset Pride, Floral Hill Cemetery, or to the Buda Rescue Unit.

John was born on September 20, 1931 in Kewanee, Illinois, the son of John T. and Elizabeth (Larkin) Golby. He grew up on a farm south of Neponset, attended school in Neponset, graduating from Neponset High School with the Class of 1950. He then served in the Army and was stationed in Japan during the Korean War.

In 1954, he married his classmate, Barbara Curran, and together they lived and farmed south of Neponset their entire married lives. She preceded him in death in May, 2011. He was also preceded in death by his parents, a nephew, Tommy Anderson, and brother-in-law, Jack Barry.

John spent his whole life as a farmer and began milking cows when he was in the first grade. As an adult, he raised cows, hogs, and sheep, as well as corn, oats, and soybeans. In retirement, John also helped Jack Scott with his farming operation until his sickness in March. Even last fall, he worked many hours helping with the harvest and was looking forward to fieldwork this spring.

He was proud of his Irish heritage and was named after his father and his great uncle, Martin Larkin, who came from Ireland to live with the Golby family when John was growing up. John and Barb also traveled to Ireland and visited the Larkin relatives in 1996.

John loved everything about farm life. He also enjoyed the Neponset community and his many friends in Neponset and the surrounding area. He served on the Neponset Grade School board, and was a lifetime member of the Neponset Fire Department and the Neponset American Legion Post 875. He was also a life-long member of Visitation-St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Kewanee and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

He is survived by his children: Carol (David) Golby-Saunders, of Roi Namur, Marshall Islands, Martin (Susan) Golby of Geneseo, and Julie (Doug) O’Riley of Galva, as well as eight grandchildren. They include: Kaitlyn, Max, Curran, and Dalen O’Riley of Galva; Kevin O’Riley, currently stationed in Japan, Lindsey Babcock of Morris, Amber Spain of Richmond, Virginia, and Christopher Fiems of Coal Valley, Illinois, and two great-grandchildren, Ethan and Nathan. Also surviving are six siblings including James (Alice Ann) Golby and Patricia (Maurice) Yepsen of Kewanee; Regina (Roger) Anderson and Kate (Bernie) Cromien of Galva; Elizabeth “Wink” Barry of Sheffield, Sister Eileen Golby, Clinton, Iowa, a sister-in law, Dolores (Denver) Clark, St. Louis, and many nieces and nephews. This obituary may be viewed and private condolences left at



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