Sylvester Hickey - Kewanee, Ill.

Sylvester Hickey - Kewanee, Ill.

Sylvester Daniel Eugene Hickey, 76, of Kewanee, Ill., passed away Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at his home, surrounded by family.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday, April 25, 2011, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Kewanee. Celebrant will be Rev. James Pallardy. Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, April 24, at Rux Funeral Home in Kewanee, with recitation of the Rosary at 7:45 p.m. Additional visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Monday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Pleasant View Cemetery.

Memorials may be directed to the family for a memorial to be established.

Gene Hickey was born on Dec. 28, 1934, in Mason City, Iowa, the son of Sylvester Hickey and Kathryn (Cahalan) Hickey. He received his education by attending Adams Catholic School in Adams, country schools and high school in LeRoy. On Nov. 5, 1955, Gene was united in marriage to Alma Felper at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in LeRoy. Their marriage was blessed with four children. They made their home in Grand Meadow, Orion, Ill., in 1964 and Kewanee, Ill., in 1979.

As a young man Gene was a truck driver and worked at a produce company. He farmed for six years in the Ostrander and the Riceville, Iowa, areas. Gene and his family moved to Charles City, Iowa, where he was an assembler at the Oliver Foundry. After a layoff he found work in East Moline, Ill., at John Deere Harvester Works. He began his career at John Deere & Co. on Dec. 13, 1963, as an NC Machine Operator.


After many years of service in the shop he was elected as Steward for the Local UAW 865. Gene was elected as Committee Man and finally Chairman of the Shop Committee. While at John Deere & Co., Gene earned the respect of many co-workers and friends by successfully negotiating fair and balanced contracts for the UAW employees and John Deere & Co.

Gene loved the work he did and valued the many long-lasting friendships he made while truly making a difference in supporting his co-workers, friends and their families. After retiring from John Deere & Co. on Jan. 1, 1994, he became President of Almadon Enterprises LLC, a rental housing business.

He is survived by his wife and four daughters, Donna (Darrell) Souhrada of Lime Springs, Iowa, Pattie (Donny) Loughe, Jeannie Iams and Kathryn (Ray) Bollinger, all of Kewanee; 16 grandchildren, Michelle (Steven) Kluesner, Anthony (Jesell) Souhrada, Darrell David Souhrada, Haley (Michael) Langreck, Craig Brokaw, Jimmy Joe (Holly) Brokaw, Brooke (Kevin) Kelley, Annie (Andrew) Loughe, Alyssa (Caleb) Loughe, Tracy Voss, Nick (Jill) Iams, Cassie (Levi) Lempke, Lacey and Sarah Greenhagen, and Zachary and Brandon Bollinger; 10 great-grandchildren, Conner, Carter and Gabrielle Kluesner, Jakob and Jaxon Brokaw, Brady Kelley, Adelyn Voss, Mackenzie and Colton Iams, and Lilli Lempke. Also surviving is one sister, Margaret Streightiff; and two brothers, James (Donna) Hickey and Charles (Rosie) Hickey.

Preceding Gene in death were his parents, parents in-law, two brothers-in-law and two great-grandchildren in infancy.

Upon retiring Gene and his wife, Alma, enjoyed fishing, visiting casinos, wintering in Yuma, Ariz., and most importantly being with their family.

Throughout Gene Hickey’s life he was known for his love of the family, friends and making the most of the time he was given. Gene foremost and above all else loved his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a wonderful son and brother, as well as a valued friend to so many people. Gene was known for his generosity and loving nature, as well as his dedication and support to his occupation. He was a great storyteller of all his experiences and loved to share them with all who would sit down on a warm summer’s night with an occasional Windsor and water. Above all else, Gene Hickey was a cherished husband, loved father, adored grandfather and a valued friend to so many people. It is his kindness and gentle spirit that we will all miss so very much.

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