Irving “Irv” Hessel, age 87, of Waverly, and a former long-time resident of Rockford, died Wednesday, July 1, 2009 of liver cancer.
He was born September 6, 1921, in Waverly, the son of Joseph and Mary Hessel.
Irv spent his early years working in the area, and later in California, where he worked in an aircraft factory.
In 1944, he was drafted into the Army and served for two years with the Army of Occupation in Japan as the motor pool sergeant. He and his men toured all the islands, confiscating and disarming all Japanese weapons.
Upon returning home, he began working in Rockford for B.L. Hasslinger Hardware, doing plumbing and heating work.
Irving and Roseann (Malok) were married June 8, 1950, and moved to Rockford. They were blessed with two daughters, Jan and Kathy.
Irv worked for the City of Rockford for 17 years as utilities supervisor, where he managed the city’s road construction and layout as well as resource allocation and water distribution. He also served as a volunteer fireman for 25 years.
For 20 years, Irv recorded all precipitation in the area for the US Weather Bureau.
He retired in 1983, and became very involved in collecting various things such as 1800 shot glasses. He got the nickname “Can Man” when he made many airplanes, sailing ships, and semis, including outdoor Christmas trees, from cans.
In 1987, when Roseann retired from teaching, they bought an RV and toured all 50 states. Irv’s love of travel took them to Canada, Mexico, and Europe, and they spent 16 years in Alamo, TX each winter. When Irv wasn’t hunting in Montana, he was off fishing in some new lake.
In July 2008, Irv became a patient of North Memorial Hospice program after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Cathy Busse Wolff cared for his medical needs, and Deacon Ron provided spiritual guidance and comfort.
Irv is survived by his wife of 59 years, Roseann; daughters Jan and Tom Lemmage, and Kathy and Peter Kunkel; six much loved grandchildren: Jennifer and Michael Lemmage, and Steven, Dan, John, and Billy Kunkel; brother and sister-in-law Jim and Donna Hessel of Waverly; nephew Jimmy and niece Julie and David Scott; many fishing buddies, a special family, the Jim Gregorys; and many relatives and friends.
Mass of Christian Burial was Tuesday, July 7 at the Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Loretto. The Revs. John Gallas and Ron Freeman officiated at the Mass, with interment in the St. Mary’s Cemetery in Waverly. Military honors were provided by the Delano American Legion Post 377.
Casket bearers were Jim Gregory, Dennis Peterson, Al Pietz, David Scott, Lester Young, Fred Vergin, and Jimmy Hessel.
Arrangements were by the Iten Funeral Home in Delano.