Landscapes 15

Joseph W. Tarara

September 2, 1945 ~ June 13, 2021 (age 75)


Joseph W. Tarara

September 2, 1945-June 13, 2021

OF Chicago, Illinois – Joseph William Tarara, 75, passed away peacefully on June 13, 2021, surrounded by his family. Joe was a painter, fisherman, golfer, history buff, devoted husband and loving father.


Joe was born in Chicago to the late Chicago Police Department Lieutenant, Samuel and Rose (nee Kamka) Tarara on September 2, 1945. Joe’s late brother, Jim, was also a member of the CPD. Joe enjoyed playing baseball with this childhood friends and attending school. 


Joe attended St. Michael Grade School (North Ave. & Cleveland St.). In 1959, Joe graduated from St. Robert Bellarmine School. In 1963, he graduated from St. Patrick High School, an all-boys college preparatory Catholic high school located in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. Joe attended Lewis University, a private Roman Catholic college in Romeoville, Illinois, where he studied Business Administration and Management. Joe worked construction during his summers and earned spending money by washing dishes during the school year. Through his hard work and perseverance, Joe paid for his own college education and graduate debt free in 1967.


In 1965, Joe met and fell in love with a “beautiful gal” named Mary Ellen Johnson at the St. Robert Bellarmine’s annual parish picnic.  In 1970, Joe and Mary Ellen were married in Chicago, Illinois. Joe and Mary Ellen welcomed two adoring children, Samuel J. Tarara and Annemarie Tarara. 


Joe’s professional career began the Monday following his graduation from Lewis when he became a Forman in Training, working for Uniroyal Chemical Co. at the Joliet Army Arsenal in Joliet, Illinois. During his six years at the Arsenal, Joe progressed through five levels of production management and finished his production career as a Senior Shift Supervisor responsible for 250 employees.


Uniroyal persuaded Joe to enter a sales training program that required him to relocate to their Corporate Headquarters in Connecticut. The family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and Cherry Hill, New Jersey before Joe’s big break came when he was asked to take over the Chicago sales territory of Rubicon Chemical Inc., a joint venture of Uniroyal and ICI Chemical Co., .Joe, Mary Ellen and Sam packed up and moved back to Lisle, Illinois. 

At Rubicon, Joe was able to advance from his starting position as Regional Sales Manager and retired as the North American Sales Manager for Huntsman Polyurethanes which had purchased his division. Joe impressively had taken his sales from $9 million to $350 million per year during the term of his sales career. Joe and the family would eventually settle in Naperville, Illinois.


While Joe proved to be a gifted salesman, Joe’s children would tell you that he fished, golfed, traveled and ate delicious food for a living. When Joe was not entertaining customers by playing a round at Pebble Beach or casting a fly at the K-L Ranch, Joe was entertaining his friends and family with his captivating stories and singing songs such as “You Gave Me A Mountain” and “Sweet Caroline.” 


Upon Joe’s retirement from Huntsman Polyurethanes, he immersed himself in his hobbies of golfing, painting, and fishing. Joe also constructed an impressive “fish room” in his basement that housed over 50 fish tanks and he successfully bred the tropical freshwater fish, Boesemani Rainbow, which he sold and traded.  


Joe is survived by his beloved wife Mary Ellen, his devoted son Sam (Holly) Tarara, his cherished daughter Annemarie (Megan) Tarara, and his loving grandchildren: J.T., Jake, Brooke, Kennedy and Fitzgerald. 


In lieu of flowers, memorial remembrances may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and/or the Wounded Warrior Project.  


Zimmerman-Harnett Funeral Home

7319 Madison St, Forest Park, IL 60130

(708) 366-2200


Please send condolences to

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph W. Tarara, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life to be held privately
June 24, 2021

4:00 PM

© 2021 Zimmerman-Harnett Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy