Morton Graduate and WWII Vet Honored at Ceremony

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John Chrenka, World War 2 Veteran and member of the J. Sterling Morton High School District 201 Class of 1939.

John Chrenka, World War 2 Veteran and member of the J. Sterling Morton High School District 201 Class of 1939. Photo circa 1941.


John Chrenka pictured today with his caretaker Diana Anastazia.

John Chrenka lives a relaxed life at his Berwyn residence. He goes on accompanied walks with his caretaker, and at 93 years old, still yells at the TV. when the Cubs are losing. “Been a Cubs fan my whole life,” says the former baseball player. “But they win one game and lose ten! Got me thinkin’ about switching over to the Sox,” joked Chrenka.

The Berwyn native has experienced nine decades of life, a life filled with baseball, family, war, and of course-a little Mustang pride. “I was a pitcher, started playing my sophomore year of high school” says Chrenka of his baseball playing days. Chrenka attended Morton East High School for four years, and graduated in 1939. “Loved my time there, my coaches were great and they really pushed us to do our best, they really looked out for us,” recalls the Morton Alumni. “I remember my teachers taking the time to get to know us and really putting effort into giving us the best educational experience.”

But nothing would prepare Chrenka for the next experience life had in store for him. “Didn’t need a reason,” he responded, when asked why he chose to enlist in the military during WWII, “my country needed me, and that was my reason.” At the young age of 22, he was a soldier in the infantry branch, a division of the military that took part in the hardest face-to-face combat during the war. “I’ve got memories that aren’t worth remembering,” grievously recalls the WWII veteran. “But my service to the military is a memory I will always be proud of.”

On June 7th, 2014 John Chrenka was honored in a special DDay Commemoration ceremony in honor of DDay’s 70th Anniversary this year. The ceremony took place in Wheaton at Cantingy Park. He was one of the many veterans being honored for their brave service during World War II. He is one of the many graduates that Morton is proud to call their own.

J. Sterling Morton High School District 201 provides quality educational experiences that challenge and enable more than 8,000 students from the communities of Berwyn, Cicero, Forest View, Lyons, McCook, and Stickney as lifelong learners to be productive and responsible members of the global community.  The district’s Board of Education is comprised of Board President Jeff Pesek, Vice President Joe Keating, Secretary Jessica Jaramillo-Flores, and members Mark Kraft, Margaret Kelly, Michael Iniquez, and Kasumba “Kal” Lwanga.  Visit District 201 online at

Michael Flaherty

Blogger, Writer at Illinois News Network
Michael Flaherty is a veteran writer, blogger and media analyst. Email him at [email protected]