Rockford Speedway matriarch has part of Loves Park roadway named after her

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 9:38 PM CDT
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LOVES PARK, Ill. (WIFR) - A legendary Rockford raceway owner of the past will have that legacy live on well into the future.. Thanks to a move Tuesday by Loves Park city leaders.

Forest Hills Road, from Harlem Avenue to Illinois Route 173, will now be known as Jody Deery Way. A fitting honor for a woman who had a way of entertaining racing fans on Friday and Saturday nights, and making even strangers feel like family.

It seems only fitting that revving of engines interrupted Tuesday’s announcement outside of Rockford Speedway. But it couldn’t distract from the message Loves Park Mayor Greg Jury was set to deliver. The Mayor said on Monday night the Loves Park City Council passed a resolution to name the stretch of Forest Hills Road for a woman who, over the past six decades, was a driving force of Rockford racing.

“Jody Deery was awesome giving back to the community,” said Jury. “So we thought this was the perfect thing to do.”

“She’d be so embarrassed about this, but also so very proud,” said Jody’s son Tom Deery.

Jody was a fixture at the Rockford Speedway ever since her husband Hugh Deery bought the track in the mid-1960′s.

“The speedway has been around for 75 of years, the same as the city,” said Jury.

Deery was sole owner of the track beginning in 1984, and it’s fair to say Jody was a hands on owner.

“We could have probably been a grocery store years and years ago, but not my mom,” said Deery. “She wanted to make sure Rockford Speedway continued. And it did, and it has, and it will.”

The matriarch of the most recognizable Rockford racing family, Deery finally stepped down from daily duties in 2020 at the age of 95. She passed away last June.

“If you really put your heart and soul into what you do. Take care of your community. Take care of your customers, your fans it really does pay off,” said Deery.

And plenty of racing fans will be driving on Jody Deery Way this weekend, on the way to the National Short Track Championships at the Rockford speedway.