Cover photo for Robert G. Luksta's Obituary
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1927 Robert 2020

Robert G. Luksta

July 8, 1927 — May 8, 2020

Robert G. Luksta

Cicero, Ill.

Robert “Bob” George Luksta, long-time resident of Cicero, Ill., died peacefully at home on May 8, 2020, at the age of 92. Dedicated public servant, Chicago sports figure and local celebrity, the town honored Bob in 2017 as one of their “super seniors.” Of Lithuanian decent, Bob was a devout Catholic. He was a member of St. Anthony’s Church in Cicero.

Born July 8, 1927, in Cicero, Bob led an extraordinary, colorful and unique life.

Bob played college basketball at DePaul University in Chicago from 1948 through 1952, when he graduated from DePaul with a bachelor of science degree in physical education. He later earned a master’s degree in administration and supervision from DePaul in 1964.

After college and before going back for his master’s, Bob barnstormed the country and exotic locations around the world playing exhibition games against the Harlem Globetrotters as a member of the Toledo Mercurys and Philadelphia Sphas professional basketball teams from 1952 through 1955.

Bob began his coaching career in 1955 as the head basketball coach at St. Mel High School in Chicago. He left St. Mel’s for Gordon Technical High School, where he coached from 1958 through 1962. Bob led Gordon Tech to the Chicago Catholic League Championship in the 1961-62 season, and the team finished third in the national high school basketball tournament held in Washington, D.C.

Bob jumped to the college coaching ranks in 1962 back at DePaul, where he coached the freshman teams and was an assistant coach for the varsity teams through the 1967-68 season. He became the head basketball coach at Loyola University New Orleans in 1968, where he was named Louisiana College Coach of the Year for both the 1968-69 and 1971-72 seasons.

After leaving coaching after the 1971-72 season at Loyola in New Orleans, Bob moved back to Cicero and became the Midwest scouting director for the Philadelphia 76ers professional basketball team.   

In addition to his years of playing, coaching and scouting basketball, Bob was a founder of the fictitious Maguire University, a scheme hatched in 1963 by a group of Chicago high school basketball coaches to obtain tickets through the faux university to attend the Final Four NCAA basketball tournament.  The group named the university after the bar, Maguire’s Pub, where the members hung out and devised the plan to see the Loyola University Ramblers men’s basketball team win the 1963 NCAA championship.  After that, and with the NCAA’s ultimate blessing, Bob and his Maguire University classmates attended more than 50 consecutive Final Four tournaments.

Bob’s contributions were not limited to basketball. He served in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1948 before
going off to college. He was a trustee for Clybourn Park, which is a branch of the Chicago Park District.
And he was long-serving trustee for the Cicero Housing Authority until his death.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Walter Luksta and Stella Shamet (nee Luksta, nee Mankus),
his stepfather, Joseph Shamet, brothers Walter Luksta and Joseph Shamet, sister-in-laws Virginia Luksta
(nee Jurkus) and Marian Shamet (nee Milkulski) and nephew John Shamet.
Bob is survived by nieces Anita (Ron) Mlyniec (nee Luksta ), Julie (Peter) Wagner (nee Shamet) and
Jeanne (David) Burda (nee Shamet), nephew James (Diane) Shamet and niece-in-law Claudia Shamet
(nee Blake).
Bob also is survived by grandnephews and grandnieces Jeffery Mlyniec, Ryan Mlyniec, Lindsay Kamberos
(nee Wagner), Alexandra Burda, Benjamin Burda, Jefferson Burda, Joseph Shamet, Kimberly Shamet and
Christopher Shamet.
A private burial service for Bob will be held May 18. A memorial service for all of Bob’s many friends,
family, players, coaches and alumni of Maguire University will be scheduled for a later date.

Funeral services will be held at St. Casimir Cemetery on Monday, May 18th at 11:00 a.m.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert G. Luksta, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Monday, May 18, 2020

11:00 - 11:30 am (Central time)

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