Bernard “Bernie” John Empen


FORRESTON – Bernard “Bernie” John Empen, 86, of Forreston, passed away, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021 at Manor Court, Freeport. Mr. Empen was born Aug. 23, 1934 in Ashton, the son of Bernard A. and Josephine (Burken) Empen.

He married Iris O’Hare in Polo on June 28, 2008. He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army Reserves. He worked as a Dairy Farmer for many years. Later he was employed by Swiss Valley Farms, Vet Way, and Eastland Feeds. He was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church, Polo, for 77 years, Forreston Lions Club where he served as Past President, Ogle County Farm Bureau, and A.M.P.I. Bernie was also Chairman for Forreston Hometown Days, ran the game clock for 25 years for Forreston football games. Bernie was an avid Chicago Bears and Cub fan. He was a proud member of the table of knowledge. Above all else Bernie cared deeply about his family.

Surviving are three sons, Jon (Margo) Empen of Dixon, Dan (Lisa) Empen of Lake Villa, and Daryl (Cynthia) Empen of Rock Island; daughter, Laurie Empen of Chicago; three step-sons, Michael (Joni) O’Hare of Stillman Valley, Tim (Lynn) O’Hare of Byron and Jim (Kelly) O‘Hare of Stillman Valley; two brothers, Joe Empen of Forsyth and Ron (Pat) Empen of Winnebago; four sisters, Rosemary, O.P. Empen of Footville, WI., Shirley (Jack) Modjallal of Encino, Calif., Phyliss Gibson of Madison, WI., and Carol Glenn of Milledgeville; also surviving are four grandchildren, Nils and Ian Empen and Cade and Carter, Empen.

Bernie was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorial services were 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Polo. Visitation was held from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 at Burke Tubbs Funeral Home, Forreston. In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established in Bernie’s memory. Please sign his guestbook and share a remembrance at