Thornton 279 8x10On April 10th, My farther in law, Joseph William Tkalec, passed away.  We knew it was coming, my husband was with him, it was still a shock that left us with a huge hole in our lives.

I knew him for almost nine years and I never really understood him or felt I knew him very well.  In the last year of his life I helped care for him every day, taking him to appointments, helping him get up and get dressed, bathroom trips, and feeding him at the end.  In some ways I knew him extremely well and intimately, but in others he was a mystery to me.

For most of his life he was a cop, an outdoorsman, and a dedicated family man.  By the time I knew him he was very much retired, watched a lot of classic movies, and was still a dedicated family man.  

For the two years we lived with him and took care of him, Joe and I fell into the habit of constantly checking on him, looking after him, and making sure he was as well cared for as we could.  We were always listening for sounds of trouble and ready to leap when we heard him fall.

We worried that we weren’t doing enough, that we were doing too much, and wondering if we could have done more to make his final years better.  Some of those worries may never pass.

Months after his passing, I am starting to let go of some of those habits.  Starting to sleep a little deeper and releasing some of that constant vigilance.  Caring for him, knowing him, living with him, and learning to love him changed me.  I am still understanding all the ways I have been changed.  I am grateful for the opportunity and I am forever grateful for the man he raised.



At home on Saturday, April 10, 2021, Joseph W. Tkalec, age 82, passed peacefully. He was born in 1938 in Akron and was a member of the Central High School class of 1957. Upon graduation, he immediately joined the Marine Corps and after his service he began a career in law enforcement. He worked as a deputy with the Summit County Sheriff’s office and the Lane County Sheriff’s office in Oregon, and ended his career as a Crime Scene Specialist in Scottsdale, AZ. Soon after retiring, he returned to Ohio to be near his siblings.

In his free time Joe enjoyed fishing, his motorcycle, and gambling in Las Vegas.

Joe took great pride in his family and his friends. He is survived by his devoted son and son-in-law, Joe and John Thornton; his beloved sister, Barbara Otterman; brothers, Jim and Tom; sister-in-law, Irene Bowman; and many lifelong and devoted friends. He was predeceased by his wife, Jean (Bowman) Tkalec whom he adored, and his parents, Frank and Mary Tkalec.

Arrangements by Cremation & Funeral Service by Gary S. Silvat, Inc