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Harold Church
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Birth: Apr. 10, 1916
Illinois, USA
Death: Feb. 25, 2011
Illinois, USA

Harold Church
Longtime employee and owner of Kelly Seed Company

Peoria Heights - Harold Church, 94, of Peoria Heights died at 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, 2011, at home surrounded by his family.

He was born April 10, 1916, on the family farm in Stark County, the son of Wallace H. and Annie Kermode Church. He married Helen Roark in 1939.

Also surviving are two daughters, Nancee Vespa (Nicholas) of Peoria and Patricia Johansen (Ralph) of Columbus, Ind.; one son, Stephen Church (Kathy) of Peoria Heights; seven grandchildren, Jennifer Ryckaert (Jeff) of West Dundee, Nicholas Vespa (Renee) of Germantown Hills, Laurel Harpster (Donald) of Indianapolis, Ind., Sarah Cannon (Eric) of Indianapolis, Ind., Jason Church (Erin) of Peoria, Matthew Church (Stephanie) of Peoria and Dr. Justin Church (Rachel) of North Carolina; five great-grandchildren, Nicholas Vespa, Andrew Vespa, Douglas Cannon, Addison Church and Hayden Church, and two beautiful adopted great-grandchildren, Tristian and Rydia; two stepgreat-grandchildren, Mackinley and Amelia; and one sister, Lura Christiansen of Fort Myers, Fla.

Harold was preceded in death by two brothers, Rollin and Charles Church; and one sister, Maureen Tumbleson; and a grandson, Douglas Church Johansen.

Reared on a farm in Stark County, Harold attended a one-room school located near his home outside Lafayette and then completed his education in Toulon and Kewanee.

In 1936, he left the farm and came to Peoria looking for work. He interviewed with W.G. Kelly and was hired by Mr. Kelly for $15 a week. Harold had a deep respect for Mr. Kelly and worked for him for 20 years. When Mr. Kelly retired, Harold and his wife, Helen, purchased the business and worked side by side for 50 years.

Harold never lost his love for the farm and felt at home discussing crops and farm prices with the farmers who shopped with him at the store.

Even at the age of 94, he liked nothing better than planting a garden with his son, Steve, and being surrounded by his children and grandchildren.

He and Helen enjoyed the adventure of traveling together and exploring antique shops along the way.

He also was an avid fisherman and never missed the opportunity to spend time in Minnesota.

Harold was a member of the National Society of Mayflower Descendants, Zeally Moss Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Peoria Historical Society. He also was a nearly 50-year member of the Rotary Club of Peoria, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow. He especially enjoyed his association with the many fine men and women of that organization.

The family would like to express their deep appreciation to Drs. David Johnson, Barry Clemson and Paul Dreyer, who attended Harold with such compassion during his last illness, and to the dedicated nurses at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

A visitation will be held Tuesday, March 1, 2011, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Woolsey-Wilton Funeral Home in Peoria. A funeral service will be Wednesday, March 2, 2011, at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. The Rev. Karl Kraemer will officiate. Burial will be in Lafayette Cemetery in Lafayette, Ill.

Memorials may be made to the neonatal unit of the OSF Children's Hospital, the Peoria Heights Congregational Church or the OSF Hospice Program.

Please visit Harold's life story at

Family links: 
  Wallace H. Church (1861 - 1944)
  Anna Kermode Church (1876 - 1958)
  Helen Roark Church (1915 - 2007)*
  Nellie Maurine Church Tumbleson (1913 - 1955)*
  Charles Henry Church (1914 - 1996)*
  Harold Church (1916 - 2011)
*Calculated relationship
Lafayette Cemetery
Stark County
Illinois, USA
Created by: Denise Parsons
Record added: Mar 02, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 66372765
Harold Church
Added by: Denise Parsons
Harold Church
Added by: Rosemary Royce Schullery
Harold Church
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Janet
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