Julio F. Rodriguez, 88, of Elgin, passed away at home surrounded by loving family on January 8, 2020. He was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico on January 19, 1931 to his loving parents, Ramon and Placida Rodriguez (Feliciano).
Julio earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in education and worked as a teacher in Puerto Rico and the U.S. for more than 40 years. He was a passionate educator who taught elementary and special needs students.
Julio was unable to have children, but desperately wanted a family of his own. He prayed fervently that he would meet and fall in love with partner who already had children. That prayer was answered when he met his future wife, Juanita, a widow who chaperoned a school field trip. The two married July 8, 1978, and Julio adopted Juanita’s daughter, Kiomayra, and raised her as his own with much love.
Julio’s desire for romance extended to others, and he had an impressive reputation as a matchmaker. Many happy couples he introduced are still married today, both in Puerto Rico and in the U.S.
Julio traveled to the U.S. much of his life, often to visit family. His first visited his sister in the U.S. in 1954, when roads were still made of bricks and “Americans were still skinny.” In 1990, he and Juanita left Puerto Rico and settled in Elgin.
Julio taught for a few years in the U.S. before retiring, but retirement did not slow him down. He launched a successful side business with his second passion: cooking pasteles, a Puerto Rican delicacy he perfected for more than 50 years. His son-in-law would drive him to Chicago so he could buy the best ingredients for his customers.
Julio was also a passionate gardener. He grew vegetables on a plot of land leased from the Church of the Brethren in Elgin, sometimes working the land all day long, even into his 70s.
Julio enjoyed music and singing. He was a talented writer and composer, who wrote poetry and original songs.
Loved ones will remember Julio as a Catholic who was faithful to Christ. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather with a kind, generous heart. Family will cherish their memories of his wonderful storytelling.
Julio was preceded in death by his parents, Ramon and Placida Rodriguez; and his siblings, Venancio, Pilar, Luciano, Flores Garcia, Ramona Rodriguez, Simoma, Eulalia, and Carmela Feliciano.
Julio is survived by his loving wife, Juanita Rodriguez; daughter Kiomayra (Santos) Valles; grandchildren Kilbert, Xaidy, Hannah and Lorenzo; and a large extended family.
Visitation will be 5:00p.m. – 9:00p.m. with funeral service at 7:00pm Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, 305 Park St., Elgin IL 60120, Father Eliserio Palencia officiating. Interment will be private.
For more information call 847-741-1128 or visit www.symondsmadisonfuneralhome.com.