ESSEX – Ronald Lee Hooper, 73, of Essex passed away Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at his home surrounded by his wife and daughters.
Ron was born February 8, 1944. He graduated from Reddick High School with the class of 1962. He began his 50-year career with John Deere at Wheeler in Kankakee, then was drafted into the United States Army in 1966. After serving in the Vietnam War, he married Roxanne, and together they raised their family in Essex.
Ron was a lifelong farmer. He also raised and trained horses on their Sandy Lane Appaloosa Farm.
He served as Superintendent of the Kankakee County Fair 4-H Horse and Pony Show for more than three decades. He loved farming, raising and training horses, going out for breakfast, his wife, family, and grandchildren, and watching the Chicago Cubs. A highlight of his life was attending game 3 of the 2016 World Series.
Ron was a member of VFW Post 9961 in Bourbonnais, St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic Church in Essex, Appaloosa Horse Club, American Quarter Horse Association, and an Honorary Member of the KWI Saddle Club. He was awarded 1999 Exhibitor of the Year at the Grundy County Agricultural District Fair, was 2011 Grundy County Agriculture District Fair Grand Champion High Point Horse Gamer, given in memory of Sean Hooper, and received the Kankakee County 4-H Alumni Award.
Surviving are his wife, Roxanne (nee Joyce), to whom he was married May 4, 1968; two daughters, Tara (Braulio) Casas of Santa Monica, CA and Kari (Blake) Walles of Wilmette; seven grandchildren: Cecilia, Josephine, Catherine and Lucas Casas, and Annalee, Holden, and Anders Walles; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Michelle Laird, Terrance and Gail Joyce, Maureen Joyce, and Kelly and Matt Fogarty; brother-in-law, Milo Veigelt; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Preceding him in death were his son, Sean Michael Hooper; parents, Harold Hooper and Mary (nee Dunn) and step-father, Everett Brousseau; sisters, Shirley Shulk and Beverly Veigelt; and brother-in-law, Robert Shulk.
A Mass of Christian Burial was Monday, January 22, at 11 a.m., in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Reddick, celebrated by Rev. William O’Shea and Rev. Stanley Drewniak.
Interment with military honors: North Cemetery, Essex.
Visitation was Sunday, January 21, from 2 until 6 p.m.
Memorial gifts in his name may be directed to the Kankakee County 4-H Foundation.
R.W. Patterson Funeral Home & Crematory, Braid-wood, was in charge of arrangements.