Chicago 2

Leflorn L. Topps

March 24, 1935 ~ May 26, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old


Leflorn Lorenzo "Tack" Topps was born March 24, 1935 to Lawrence W. Topps Sr and Velma Caffey Topps in Holcomb Mississippi.  He was the third of four children born to this union.  


In 1935, his parents, maternal grandmother, and several sets of aunts and uncles migrated from Holcomb, MS to La Grange, IL.  Tack grew up in La Grange amongst a very close-knit family within a very close-knit community.  He confessed Christ at an early age and attended Sunday School at Davis Memorial AME.  He eventually joined Second Baptist Church of La Grange, where he was a long-time member.   


Tack attended Congress Park Elementary School briefly but spent the bulk of his elementary school years at Cossitt.  He graduated from Lyons Township High School in 1954.  While at Lyons Township, Tack made his mark in Track and Field, and as running back on the football field.  During his high school years, he began dating Ellen Jean Romanski.  This would prove to be his one true love. Tack was drafted into the Army in 1957.  He served in the armored division as a tank commander in Germany. While home on leave in 1958 he proposed to Ellen.  


 In the latter part of 1959, his conscription was over, and he married Ellen on June 25, 1960.  They were the first couple to be married in the structure that stands at 26 Washington, La Grange, IL.  This union produced four children: Jeffrey Leflorn, Nancy Diane, Karen Velma, and Gregory Allan.  In 1967, Tack and Ellen were expecting their third child and wanted to build a home.  The Village of La Grange would not cooperate, so the couple built a home in Lombard near Ellen’s oldest sister, Mattie Stevens.  Family was always central to the couple. 


For the bulk of Tack's working career, he was employed at International Harvester, later to become Navistar International.  The old plant was located in Melrose Park, IL.   Tack worked as a welder, and a machinist, before becoming a union steward and committeeman prior to retiring.   After retirement, Tack worked part time for RichLee Vans, driving special needs students to school. 


He organized and cooked for what became the first Topps/Caffey reunion, establishing a family tradition that lasted for years. It was successful enough to get more people involved the second time around, and the reunions of the 80's were huge successes.  Tack was the walking, talking family history book.  His knowledge of lineages was second to none.  Tack was an excellent cook, baker, ice-cream maker, barbecue, fish-fryer, pie maker and loved to throw annual summer cook outs at his home.  He was a great host. 


Mostly Tack was an excellent husband, father, grandfather, father-figure, cousin, uncle, in-law, and friend.  His sense of humor was matchless.  His kindness to those he loved was heartwarming.  His willingness to lend a hand, an ear, or a shoulder to cry on was unfailing.  He put four children through college.  He expected all four of them to get degrees and they did.  All four of his children’s own homes because of how he raised them. He was an example of having ones’ priorities straight. 


On May 26, 2023, after a long illness, Tack took his last breath.  His four children were at his bedside.  He was proceeded in death by his mother, father, brother Lawrence Jr, sister Elizabeth, and his wife.  He is survived by his four children: Jeffrey (Hillside, IL)  Nancy (Ken) Caselberry (Joliet, IL) , Karen Claxton (Chicago, IL) and Gregory (Diedre) (Plainfield, IL) five Grandchildren, Ellyn Nicole Caselberry, Gary Allen Claxton, Jr, Dr. Allyson Marie Caselberry, Kenneth "KC" Caselberry, Jr., Shyi Harris, and Maxwell Allan Leflorn Topps; one great-grandchild Aria Nya Claxton, his brother Leonard, his sisters-in-law Mattie R Stevens and Mildred Romanski and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins and good friends.  He will be greatly missed because he was dearly loved.


 Proviso Baptist Church

1116 S 5th Ave Maywood Il 60153.

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June 2, 2023

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Schaffer Funeral Service @ Carbonara Funeral Home
1515 25th Ave
Melrose Park, IL 60160

June 3, 2023

9:30 AM
God's Heritage Full Gospel
1200 South 5th Ave
Maywood, IL 60153

Funeral Service
June 3, 2023

10:30 AM
God's Heritage Full Gospel
1200 South 5th Ave
Maywood, IL 60153

Interment following funeral service
June 3, 2023

Parkholm Cemetery
2501 North La Grange Road
La Grange Park, IL 60526


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