Joseph Pestka, 1717 Hoveland court, Evanston, was drowned about 2:30 o’clock Sunday afternoon while swimming in the river filled gravel pit at Ridge road and Park place. Mr. Pestka was forty years old and the father of five children.
With two sons, Albert, 16, and Joseph, Jr., 6, and two friends, Michael and Frank Kurtz, Pestka left home about 1:30 o’clock Sunday afternoon. Upon arriving at the pond Michael Kurtz, an able swimmer, challenged Pestka to race across. When Kurtz reached the opposite side he looked back to find that Pestka was not in sight. None of the persons at the pit had seen the man drown.
The body was not recovered until shortly before noon on Monday when a coast guard boat in charge of Capt. Otto F. Fricke dragged over the spot where the victim was last seen. Searchers dragged the pond all of Sunday afternoon until forced to halt by rain and darkness. The task was resumed at daybreak on Monday.
Sergt. George Pestka, of the Evanston police force, a brother of the drowned man, was assisting on the coast guard crew which located the body in the muddy bottom of the pool. Hundreds of persons lined the banks while the search was going on, and among them were Pestka’s widow, Mrs. Jane Pestka, and their five children, Albert and Joseph, Marie, 14, Jane, 10, and Helen, 8.
Other survivors in addition to those already mentioned are: Mr. and Mrs. Pat Pestka, the parents; six sisters, Margaret, Helen, Agnes, Mrs. H. J. Schwall, and Mrs. M. C. Schmitz, of Wilmette, and Mrs. J. J. Balmes, of Athens, Wis.; and another brother, Mat Pestka, Jr.
Funeral services were held Wednesday morning at St. Mary’s church, Evanston, and burial was at Techny, Ill.