American Patriotic 10

       


Hobart C. Van Deventer

November 8, 1921 ~ August 17, 2018 (age 96)
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Hobart C. Van Deventer November 8,1921-August 17,2018 Notorious for his bib overalls, Hawaiian shirts, cheerful demeanor, giving a helping hand, or words of optimism and encouragement - Hoby was sincerely a friend to all. His kindness was only outweighed by his sense of humor. Truly a one-of-a-kind human being. Grave digger, Pearl Harbor Survivor, school teacher, business owner, treasure hunter, carnival worker…. his life was an adventure. The adventure ended with his passing, peacefully in his sleep, on August 17, 2018 at the age of 96. Born on a farm in Arrowsmith Illinois, November 8,1921, he was the surviving identical twin of Dale and Faye (nee West) Van Deventer. The West family were avid readers and prolific authors, so Hoby was taught to read and write by his grandfather Henry West, Leroy IL., by the age of 4. This could explain why no one could ever decipher Hoby’s handwriting throughout his life. At the age of 7, Hoby moved to Pontiac Illinois, where he gained new lifelong friends, and a new step-father, Michael Buckley. Michael and Hoby’s mother Faye were developing a new cemetery in Pontiac. Upon its completion, the family moved to Streator in 1933 to open another new cemetery, Hillcrest Memorial Park. Hoby attended Grant School, and the first semester at Streator High before entering Morgan Park Military Academy, Chicago, graduating in 1939. He enlisted in the Army in June, 1941, and was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He continued his service throughout WWII in the Pacific Theater as 1st Sgt with the 91st Chemical Mortar Company, engaging in 4 campaigns and earning 3-unit citations, a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart. After discharge at the end of the war, he enrolled at Knox College, Galesburg, where he majored in drama and English. He was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. At Knox he met and married Charlene Kerner. After graduation they moved Ely, NV where he taught at White Pines High School and welcomed the birth of his first daughter, Valerie. In 1951 he moved back to Illinois to help the family as caretaker for Hillcrest, and also worked at Goslin Drugs. In 1956 he built a successful business- Wayside Drugstore. In 1968 after being diagnosed with an inoperable/terminal brain tumor, the decision was made to sell the store and explore the world. Shortly after the sale of his business, the “brain tumor” turned out to be a cranial sinus infection, which was easily treated, but Hoby and Charley’s plans did not waiver and they began metal detecting and panning for gold throughout the USA. After 12 years of treasure hunting they decided to become real vagabonds, but with a salary, so joined a carnival. After 25 years of being “on the road”, they retired in Streator. Hoby and Charley lived fully and volunteered at every opportunity. They continued their happy life until Charley’s death in 2002. Hoby was broken hearted after her death, but after a few years, with the help of the ladies at the Streator Public Library, he reconnected with his pre-war girlfriend, Maggie. They initially met at the Episcopal church camp in Wisconsin in 1940. After 3 months of nightly phone calls to Mission Texas, Margaret (Maggie) Falknor Valverde moved to Streator. They married in 2005 but she passed away in 2010. They made a lifetime of memories in the six years they were together. Hoby was involved throughout his years in Streator as a volunteer income tax preparer, substitute teacher at Northlawn, election judge, read children’s stories Saturday mornings on WIZZ radio, and was a founding member of Engle Lane Theater. Hoby is survived by his daughter, Pamela, grandson Caleb (Kyley) Reger, two great-grandsons, and was preceded in death by his parents, spouses Charley and Maggie, and his daughter Valerie Reger, in November 2016. Hoby’s life took him to every state in the USA with the exception of Alaska. To complete his journey and fulfill his wish, which was ”Don’t bury me, release me to the wind”, his ashes will be scattered in Anchorage. In lieu of flowers or donations, Hoby would like everyone who knew him to do a good deed in his honor. Show affection, exercise compassion, be courteous, be generous, or have a good laugh with a fellow human being. You can sign the guest book for Hoby at www.eliasfh.com

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