by Rachael Reynolds-Soucie
George Hager had Dwight running through his blood. Not only was he born and raised here, his parents, Earl Hager and Louise (Baker) Hager were two of Dwight’s founders. In fact, he lived his entire life on Seminole Street. He was born, grew up, married and raised his family in three different homes along Seminole. Community and family were pretty much his real interests. And as a business owner in town, everybody knew him. George died January 13 at the age of 93. He had lived on his own up until three months prior to his death at Heritage Health in Dwight. George graduated from high school in Dwight, and attended the University of Illinois — but not for long. “He didn’t like it,” chuckled his daughter, Cynthia Downey, of Geneva. She is one of two daughters and two sons George and his wife Lois had. So he hitch-hiked home. When he got there, he sat on the back steps of his parents home. When his father returned, he told George to go in, get changed and get ready to work as hard as he ever would. That would be at the family business, Hager Lumber Company in Dwight. His father eventually made George a partner. He enjoyed his customers, many of them local contractors. As a child, his grandfather ran the Baker Funeral Home, and George was always around to help. When his son, the late Scott Hager, opened Hager Funeral Home, he helped there, too. “That whole business was near and dear to his heart,” Downey remembered. George enjoyed bicycles and took many trips by bike, including biking from Dwight to Peoria to see his cousins. He was a motorcycle enthusiast, and played the saxophone in the Bus Hansen band. He was
an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Dwight, a founding member of the Dwight Lions Club, and served on the board of directors for Oaklawn Cemetery and Evenglow. He was a volunteer firefighter for Dwight for more than 25 years, and developed the Creek Ridge Mobile Home Community. When not working or serving the community, he enjoyed the family’s summer home in Wisconsin. He loved fishing and spent a lot of time working on the home. He was a loving father and husband. He’d accompany his wife just about everywhere. “He just liked keeping Mom happy,” Downey said.