Roskam died unexpectedly in Wheaton on March 13, 2015, at the age of 85.
Roskam founded Educational Assistance Ltd., a nonprofit scholarship program that enabled 10,000 students to attend college. In 1986, he and his wife, Martha, received the Knox College Alumni Achievement Award. In 1988, they received the President’s Volunteer Action Award from President Reagan, the nation’s highest honor for volunteer service.
In 2001, while traveling in Vietnam, Swede and Martha Roskam purchased several U.S. military dog tags that were being sold as souvenirs. Upon their return to the U.S., they hired a private investigator to discover the whereabouts of the American military personnel or their next of kin. They spent several years returning these tags to their rightful owners.
Roskam is survived by Martha and their five children, including Congressman Peter Roskam, whose 6th District includes a good portion of Kane County.
“There’s an expression that ‘the acorn doesn’t fall too far from the oak,’ ” Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said. “Knowing and admiring Peter Roskam as much as many of us do, Peter’s father must have been a mighty oak. All the good qualities that ‘Swede’ passed along to his son, Peter, generously passes on to us in his work and his personal example. We celebrate the Roskam family’s faith and Mr. Roskam’s life well-lived.”
According to his obituary, Roskam was born on Oct. 16, 1929, in Iowa Falls, IA, to Albert Ollie Roskam and Maureen Kathleen Varnum. He graduated from West Waterloo High School in Waterloo, IA, in 1947 and from Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri in 1949. He graduated from Knox College in Galesburg, IL, in 1951 and received a regular commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. He served as a Company Commander in the Korean War.
He and Martha were married for 62 years. Together they had five children. Roskam enjoyed a career in sales with several companies before joining the Oil-Dri Corporation of America, where he worked for 45 years. He retired in 2014 as vice president of sales.
He was an active member of the Glen Ellyn Evangelical Covenant Church.
He is survived by his wife, Martha Roskam (nee Jacobsen), Stephen Andrew Roskam (Chandler), Jonathan Richard Roskam (Phyllis), Sarah Jayne Roskam, Peter James Roskam (Elizabeth) and Maribeth Roskam Coote (Jonathan) and his grandchildren Jacob Roskam, Mica Roskam, Hilary Roskam, Jonathan Roskam, Lilly Roskam, Jayne Averitt, Bryan Simpson (Katie), Hope Simpson, Gracey Roskam, Frances Roskam, Stephen Roskam II, Alec Roskam, Ian Coote, Peter Coote, Jonathan Coote, Jr., and Philip Coote. He is also survived by his sister Vee Anne Roskam Angilley and step sister Delores Stanley Zimmer. He was predeceased by his grandson James Schoales Roskam.
Visitation is from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, March 20 at Hultgren Funeral Home, 304 N. Main St. in Wheaton. The funeral service is at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at College Church, 332 E. Seminary Ave. in Wheaton, Illinois at 2:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be sent to support Bible translation as follows:
Payable to Wycliffe Associates, PO Box 620368, Orlando, FL 32862
Please include on the check memo:
Scott Crickmore/Ministry Account M10445/Roskam Memorial