PEORIA - Gerald Richard "Jerry" Hanlon, 79, of Peoria, originally of the Kickapoo area, died at 3:20 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013.
Jerry was born in Rosefield Township at the Hanlon homestead south of Kickapoo on Dec. 28, 1933. He was the seventh of eight children born to Herbert Isaac and Emma Katherine (Kirchgessner) Hanlon.
He is survived by his wife, the former Joyce Marie Ochs, with whom he was united in marriage on April 27, 1957, in Peoria.
He also is survived by three sons, Rodger Dale (Debbie) Hanlon and Donald Gene Hanlon, both of Peoria, and Robert Alan (Rosemarie) Hanlon of Chicago; one grandson, Colin Alexander Hanlon of Chicago; two granddaughters, Sarah Elizabeth Hanlon and Kaylah Christine Hanlon, both of Peoria; two brothers, Walter H. (B. JoeAnn) Hanlon of Peoria and John F. (Faye) Hanlon of Huntington, W.Va.; one sister, Eileen M. Hanlon Siegle of Bedford, Ind.; one sister-in-law, Earlene Collins Hanlon of Elmwood; many nieces and nephews; and his godchildren, Lisa Hanlon Purvis of Louisville, Ky., Katherine Siegle Sleva of Bedford, Ind., and Juanita Cruise Routt and Eric Steven Routt, both of Peoria.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Virgil C. Hanlon and George Ray Hanlon; two sisters, Blanche M. Hanlon Cruise and Mary Ellen Hanlon; one sister-in-law, Carrie Peters Hanlon; and four brothers-in-law, David B. Siegle Sr., Ward E. Cruise, George Schaub and Thomas Ochs. He was also preceded in death by two nieces, Dorothy Cruise Tschaepe and Patricia Cruise Waldschmidt; one nephew, Ward (Butch) Cruise; and one infant nephew, Richard Bradley Hanlon.
Jerry was a 1952 graduate of Spalding Institute in Peoria and also attended Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Illinois Central College.
He was a four-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, serving honorably from 1953 to 1957.
He worked for 20 years with Equifax Services and 15 years with Caterpillar Inc., where he retired in 1994.
He was also a professional musician and country music singing artist for more than 50 years, performing locally and at the international level in Ireland, Denmark and Sweden. For 25 years, he operated Jerry Hanlon's Midwest Playboys Country Music Showband in his native Midwest United States.
During his musical life, he recorded some 16 collections of Irish and American country music, as well as country gospel music. He had appearances at the famed Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and also operated the Nashville Connection Recording Studio in Peoria for 20 years prior to his death.
Having led an exemplary musical life, Jerry leaves a legion of fans and friends in the United States, Ireland and Scandinavia.
At Jerry's request, private graveside services and burial will be in St. Patrick's Cemetery at Kickapoo. There will be no public visitation or service.
Memorials may be made to St. Patrick's Cemetery at Kickapoo for upkeep of the Hanlon/Mulvaney Grotto, the Peoria Easter Seals Organization, or the Gateway Center for the Handicapped and Emotionally Challenged in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, of which he was the first honorary president.
Condolences and memorials may be directed to the Jerry Hanlon Memorial Hand, P.O. Box 1264, Peoria, IL 61654. Northern Ireland memorials may be directed to Jerry Hanlon Gateway Center Memorial Fund, 4 Areema Heights, Banbridge, Northern Ireland.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Wright and Salmon Mortuary in Peoria, Ill., where online condolences are encouraged and will be appreciated.
An online obituary where condolences may be left can be found at www.wrightandsalmon.com.