Harmon E. Peaco

July 6, 1924December 17, 2018

Harmon Elliott Peaco, 94, of Crystal Lake, IL died on December, 17, 2018 at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, IL. He was born on July 6, 1924 to the late James and Elsie Peaco in rural Libertyville, IL. He graduated from Libertyville public schools. After a year at Illinois State Normal University, he served in the U.S. Army from 1943-1946, with overseas duty in France and Germany. In 1949 he was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from ISNU. That same year he married Marilyn, his wife of 69 years. The following year he earned his Masters of Arts degree in political science from Northwestern University, courtesy of the GI Bill, where he majored in international relations and political theory. He was a loved and respected world history and contemporary world issues teacher for 37 years, 35 in Crystal Lake District 155; as well as serving as the chairman of the social studies department. He was also a long-time advisor to the American Field Service student chapter. He loved teaching and the interactions he had with his many talented colleagues at Crystal Lake Community High School. One of the most satisfying experiences of his career was the opportunity to co-develop the innovative humanities course that received widespread recognition throughout the Midwest. The course was team-taught and combined history, music, art, and literature. The team made presentations at conferences in St. Louis, Milwaukee, and at various universities in Illinois. In addition to teaching, he was also a member of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Crystal Lake; serving in many capacities there including council president, mission chair, and choir director. He was the oldest member of the Crystal Lake Lions Club, both in age and years of membership. He also enjoyed gardening, sports, music, and reading. He maintained that he had little patience in a check-out line, but that pulling weeds was another story. A long-time member of the Crystal Lake Great Books group, he also served as one of its leaders. At the same time for over three decades he was the field announcer for Crystal Lake Central track meets. Survivors include his wife Marilyn and their children, Debbie (Harvey) Barlow, David (Mauri) Peaco, Jim Peaco, Julie (Todd) Kipfer, Jean (Scott) Fleenor; five grandchildren, Emily (Eric) Batten, Jonathan Peaco, Laurren (Daniel) Haydon, Lisa Peaco (Daniel Bratton), Allison (Andrew) O’Dell; and three great grandsons. He is pre-deceased by his brother, Jack Peaco. Arrangements will include visitation at Querhammer & Flagg Funeral Home on 500 W Terra Cotta Ave. on Friday, December 21 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. A funeral will be held at St. Paul’s UCC, 485 W. Woodstock St. on Saturday December 22 at 11:00 am, with visitation one hour prior to the service. Burial will be private at Crystal Lake Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to St. Paul’s UCC Endowment Fund, 485 Woodstock Street, Crystal Lake, IL, 60014, Crystal Lake Lions Club, P.O. Box 48, Crystal Lake, IL 60039 or the National Parks Conservation Association, P.O. Box 97202, Washington, D.C., 20077-7435. Online condolences may be made at


  • Marilyn Peaco, Wife
  • Debbie (Harvey) Barlow, Daughter
  • David (Mauri) Peaco, Son
  • Jim Peaco, Son
  • Julie (Todd) Kipfer, Daughter
  • Jean (Scott) Fleenor, Daughter
  • Emily (Eric) Batten, Granddaughter
  • Jonathan Peaco, Grandson
  • Laurren (Daniel) Haydon, Granddaughter
  • Lisa (Daniel Bratton) Peaco, Granddaughter
  • Allison (Andrew) O'Dell, Granddaughter
  • James Peaco, Father
  • Elsie Peaco, Mother
  • Jack Peaco, Brother
  • He is also survived by three great-grandsons.

  • St. Paul’s UCC Endowment Fund
  • Crystal Lake Lions Club
  • National Parks Conservation Association


  • Visitation Friday, December 21, 2018
  • Continued Visitation Saturday, December 22, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, December 22, 2018

Harmon E. Peaco

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jefferson Cowie

December 26, 2018

One of my most vivid memories of Mr. Peaco is, sometime in the late seventies, when he engaged me in a debate over what was "real": truth or the chair that sat between us. I chose the chair, he chose truth. I lost.

I loved is classes for exactly this type of engagement.

It's not too much of a stretch to say that I have Mr. Peaco to credit for my career as a professional historian (first at Cornell, now at Vanderbilt). He turned me on to ideas, to events, and the richness of history. His gift as a historian was to understand the history of ideas or ideas as history.

I know he changed many students' lives and many ways of thinking. He continues to be an inspiration to me for what I do everyday. To touch others with one's passion is the essence of a life well lived. Thank you, Mr. Peaco.

Margaret Wilkins

December 21, 2018

Mr. Peaco was a wonderful teacher. He always treated everyone with kindness. I remember that the most about him. Praying for your family.

Steven Kyle

December 20, 2018

What a joyful and lively guy to be around. I only met Harmon several times at family gatherings, but he made a lasting impression. Thank God for Harmon - what a gift.

Brian Roberts

December 20, 2018

Mr. Peaco was my all time favorite teacher in high school. In addition to being a kind man, he excelled in his craft. He had the ability to take a subject like World History (considered boring by many people) and turn it into an adventure. 55 years later I can remember his presentations on Mazda (the god of light), the battles of Crecy and Hastings, the significance of the Magna Carta, and the hallowed Flanders Fields. His class was a refreshing time for an otherwise C minus student, and I'm so glad it happened. A solemn salute to you, Sir, from western Pennsylvania.

Brian Roberts

Amy Mengler

December 19, 2018

I had Mr. Peaco for several classes, including the Humanities class, which was one of my absolute favorite classes. I remember him as a very engaging teacher and so knowledgeable. He had a smile for everyone, but always challenged us to do our best.
One of my favorite stories about him is when I had him first hour my senior year (1983). He knew my family and, therefore, knew that I walked to school, but being a senior in high school I would sometimes show up a little late to class (usually during the morning announcements). I should have gotten in trouble, but he would just look at me and say “Late bus again today, Ms. Fritz?’ - with a little twinkle in his eye. I would say, “Yes,” and take my seat. I didn’t do it often, but he let me get away with being late. A great man and a wonderful teacher! Thanks, Mr. Peaco!

Mary Lee (Kardas) Rogers

December 19, 2018

I was in the CLCHS Class of 1960. I had Mr. Peaco for World History my sophomore year. I did some babysitting for he and his wife in the late 50s. They were always so very gracious and interested in what you were doing. After I was married my husband and I moved to Pomeroy Ave. in Crystal Lake. There were many late afternoons and early evenings when I heard Mr. Peaco's voice announcing events for the track meets. On my way to work I would often see Mr. Peaco out for his morning walk. He was a lovely man who will be missed by many. My deepest sympathy to his wife and family.

Janet (Yerkey) Martin

December 19, 2018

To the Peaco family: Sending my deepest sympathy to you on your loss. I knew Harmon at St. Paul's United Church of Christ....first, as the father of Debbie who I knew through Sunday School, Junior Choir, and most memorably in Senior Choir where Harmon was the director. He always joked about it being the longest "interim" position of some 20 years!! I will always remember his wonderful sense of humor, kindness, and especially the close friendship he had with my father, Glen Yerkey. How they loved their families, music, and the Chicago White Sox. Harmon, I am very glad that my friend JoAnn and I were able to visit you in September. From the final line in the song "Sing Me to Heaven"...."Sing me a lullaby, a love song, a requiem. Sing me to heaven." Thanks for being a part of my life.
Janet (Yerkey) Martin

Regina Belt-Daniels

December 19, 2018

Harmon was a larger than life personality, and I believed he would go on forever. I met him years ago at our GREAT BOOKS book club. As I’m sure he’s done for many, he taught me a lot—-about thinking, about understanding, about listening to two sides, about going beyond the surface and even about poetry. Harmon was kind, quick witted, and a motivator. And more than anything else, Harmon loved his wife Marilyn and his children who he always proudly spoke of. Rest In Peace, Harmon. We’ll miss you tremendously!

Pamela Cooper

December 19, 2018

Mr. Peaco was one of my best teachers. I took Contemporary World Issues and learned how to look at what was happening around the globe. But I also knew him from St. Paul's Church where I sang in the choir. And then there was AFS. I was an active member all four years. And then there were the years that he and came to my parents Christmas party, The Carol Sing, and directed us all in carols. When we moved to Marinette, WI I took over as "director" and Mr. Peaco was one of my models. The whole family loved having him and Marilyn at the party. My condolences to all the family, but especially to Dave, as we graduated together from CLCHS in 1971. Pam

Dan Gentges

December 18, 2018

I was a new student at Crystal Lake Central High School in 1978, after my family moved from the Detroit area due to my dad's job change. I took Mr. Peaco's 19th and 20th Century European History course the spring semester. My love of history began with that course.

Everyone has a story of a teacher who made a difference in his/her life. I can state unequivocally that Mr. Peaco was that teacher for me. I will never forget what I learned from the CLC history department. It began with Mr. Peaco.

I am forever indebted to Mr. Peaco and the history department at CLC. He made a difference. No higher honor can be given to a teacher.

My condolences to his family. And my profound respect for a life well lived.

Thank you.