Paul and Linda Mascuch, Larry and Jude Miller, Frank and
Araceli Metallo, Bob Collins, North American Falconers
I first met Jose in 1973.
Ever since then, we hawked
together almost every weekend,
along with drinking a “lile” tequila
after hawking at either his house or mine.
There are too many great stories that come
to mind to mention. Anyone who knew Jose
knows that whenever he was around there
would be lots of laughs. Jose was more
than my best friend for over the last 45
years – he was like a brother to me.
I’ll miss no one more.
In Memory of
Jose Soto Sr, 74, of Oswego, Illinois passed away after a
short illness on January 13, 2018 surrounded by loved
ones. He was born in Puerto Rico and was employed at
Henry Pratt for 43 years. Jose is survived by his devoted
wife of 47 years, Kathy (McNamara) Soto, son James, and
grandchildren Tre, Dominique, Jacob and Kayla, his brother
Mario and many other loving family members. He was
preceded in death by his son Jose Jr., brother Flor, sister
Carmen, and his parents.
Jose was a devoted father, husband, uncle, grandfather
and best friend to all who knew him. Jose never missed
an opportunity to pick up new hobbies. He was a black
belt in karate and taught the art to many. In his youth,
he rode a Harley Davidson chopper. He was an excellent
falconer and an active member of the Great Lakes Falconers
Association. The family enjoyed many rabbit and pheasant
dinners. Jose loved to run – and completed the Chicago
Marathon. Jose developed an interest in photography and
won ribbons at the Sandwich Fair. He was a member of the
Classic Chevy Club. He was proud of his ’56 Chevy Belair
and his wife’s ’64 Impala convertible. He loved renovating
their home inside and out. Jose built a large Koi pond and
loved maintaining
it. He had the fish
eating from his
hand. He was an avid
reader and taught
himself how to grow
and shape bonsais.
He would carve
miniature houses. He
was known for his
popular annual pig
roast and took great
pride in seasoning
and roasting one to
perfection. He will
be remembered as a
most interesting and
friendly man.
Jose Soto (Joe) was very dedicated and passionate
about Falconry. His Hunting, Trapping, Training
and Medical knowledge was entertaining and
quite inspiring.
Jose epitomized the essence of the unwrien
origins of Falconry. The first Falconers most
likely devised the Raptor & Hunter bond in
order to obtain food. During a stretch well over
a year, Joses company was on strike and times
were difficult. Jose took on side jobs and hunted
game in the time-honored tradition of Falconry.
He had multiple birds, but one named Cowboy
would quite often catch three Pheasants a day.
His wife Kathy had a Wild Game cookbook, which
she won at a Game Dinner, with an outstanding
Braised Pheasant recipe. With the steady supply
of Wild Pheasant, Rabbit and Duck, combined
with inexpensive wild rice and natural asparagus
found while hunting, though times were difficult,
the family ate like kings.
Jose benefited, as a building block of Life, the
deep bonds that he made while enjoying the
sport. The friendships that he acquired through
hunting, affectionately known as Hawking
Buddies, became a Brotherhood and extended
members of the family. The countless hunting
tales and insights of life will continue to be
passed on for generations. It would also be
remiss not to mention his longest standing bird
a Red Tail named Jenny. She was around so long,
that she was considered a member of the family.
Jose and I met at his first Great
Lakes Falconers Association
meeting. He had flown a kestrel in
his native Puerto Rico and wanted
to expand his falconry experiences.
His enthusiasm for falconry and
his perpetual smile quickly won
the support of the GLFA members.
Since he and I both lived in Aurora,
Illinois, I agreed to be his sponsor.
His training in the martial arts
had conditioned him to listen and
learn. He quickly put together
the basic falconry gear. As his
sponsor, I tried to instill in him
the satisfaction of making his own
falconry equipment. No store-
bought things (other than bells and
swivels) allowed! After the basics
were quickly completed, we set out
to trap a passage hawk.
I had built a blind along the Fox
River south of Aurora. The Fox is a
minor fall migratory route in central
Illinois. We seled into the blind
and waited for that immature red-
tail that was looking for an easy
Our wait was short. A red-tail
appeared above the oaks that
bordered the northeast corner
of the field. A slight pull on the
lure line and the bird folded
immediately. As it “whooshed
past the blind, it mounted, did a
wing-over and flashed a brown tail.
Seeing immediately that it was an
immature, Jose was ecstatic! In his
marvelous Puerto Rican accent, he
whispered “ees a emmature, ess a
emmature!” Down it came. The bow
net triggered. Jose had his hawk!
I turned to tell Jose to get out of the
blind. He was gone. I should have
known. I looked at the bow net to
see Jose already standing on its edge
to make sure there was no chance
of the hawk escaping. Success! We
socked up the bird and headed for
Joses house.
Joses wife Kathy could not believe
we were back so quickly – and with a
hawk. Jesses, leash, swivel and hood
were aached. Joses falconry had
begun in earnest. Jose’s expertise
progressed rapidly as the years went
by. Thanks to his partnership with
very good friend Frank Metallo, he
became proficient with both long
and shortwings.
It was my privilege to have had
many experiences with Jose, both in
falconry and socially. The laer best
fit for late night or campfires!
Jose was a devoted father,
husband, uncle, grandfather and
best friend to all who knew him.