Herbert F. Wilhelm, 69, born March 15, 1944, in Mascoutah, Ill., passed away at his home in Belleville, Ill., on New Year's Eve, 2013, with his beloved wife and children at his side.
Herb was a retired machinist and worked for 44 years for Towers Fire Apparatus in Freeburg, Ill. In addition, he spent many of those years working side by side for his brother-in-law as a welder at Spaeth Welding, in New Baden, Ill. After his retirement, he worked as a school bus driver for the Freeburg Community Consolidated School District 70.
Herb was a hard worker who enjoyed fixing things and enjoyed helping others with projects... there wasn't a project too big for him to tackle. If he wasn't working on a project, Herb could be found at any local euchre tournament, usually walking away a winner! While Herb was dedicated to his work and his card game, his greatest love and devotion was for his family. Herb was a dedicated husband, dad, and grandpa. Herb always put his family above all else and spent his life providing for and supporting them. He loved his grandkids dearly and regularly supported them in all of their activities. He was a true inspiration for us all and will be sorely missed.
He was a current member of St. Teresa Catholic Church, and the Men's Club of St. Teresa. As a former member of St. Joseph Parish, Freeburg, Ill., Herb belonged to the St. Joe's Men's Club, served as an usher at the church, and helped with Friday night fish fries and church picnics for many years. He was a retired member of the Swansea Volunteer Fire Department, and a veteran of the United States Air Force.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph O. and Anne M., nee Voegele, Wilhelm; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Richard O. and Edna T., nee Ketterer, Spaeth; four brothers, Roman J., Meinard N., Erwin A., and Joseph J. Wilhelm; a sister-in-law, Eunice Wilhelm; and a brother-in-law, Preston H. Blake.
Surviving are his high school sweetheart and wife of 48 years, Darlene B., nee Spaeth, Wilhelm, whom he married on May 31, 1965, at St. George's Catholic Church, New Baden, Ill.; a daughter, Bridget O. (Chuck) Reeves of Swansea, Ill.; a son, Brent A. (Erin) Wilhelm of Swansea, Ill.; seven grandchildren, Claire, Grace, Hope, and Boyd Reeves, and Miles, Flynn, and Britt Wilhelm; three brothers, Leo A. (Alice) Wilhelm of Mascoutah, Ill., Ralph J. (Ruth) Wilhelm of Mascoutah, Ill., and Marcel O. Wilhelm of Belleville, Ill.; four sisters, Martha (John) Henrichs of Breese, Ill., Sister Janet Marie Wilhelm, ASC of LaPaz, Bolivia, Rose (Bruce) Markwardt of Belleville, Ill., and Ann (Phillip) Sherry of Santa Maria, Calif.; four sisters-in-law, Delores Wilhelm of Belleville, Ill., Marcella Wilhelm and Delores Wilhelm of Mascoutah, Ill., and Darlene Schaperkoetter of Mascoutah, Ill.; a brother-in-law, Marvin (Darlene) Spaeth of Trenton, Ill.; a sister-in-law, Doris (Gene) Mueller of Belleville, Ill.; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends.
The family would like to thank the following for all of their care and compassion: Dr. Brad Ringhofer, Nurse Jane Jansen, Dr. Matthew Koch, Dr. James McPike II, all of Belleville, Ill.; Dr. Terry Moore, Dr. Ravi Nayak, and Dr. Robert Neumayr, Saint Louis University Hospital; and the Southern Illinois Hospice caregivers.
Herb's decision was to dedicate his body to science at Saint Louis University Hospital, St. Louis, Mo. Just like he helped people during his life, his hope was that he could help someone after his death by contributing to research that may someday save someone from the debilitating illness of Scleroderma.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the Northwestern Scleroderma Program, 420 E. Superior St., Arthur J. Rubloff Building, 9th Floor, Chicago, Ill. 60611, to Hospice of Southern Illinois, to St. Teresa Catholic Grade School, to Althoff Catholic High School, or to St. Joseph Catholic Church, Freeburg, Ill. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, at St. Teresa Catholic Church, Belleville, Ill.
Funeral: A memorial Mass will be celebrated at noon Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, at St. Teresa Catholic Church, Belleville, Ill., with Msgr. David Darin and Father Mark Reyling concelebrating.
GEORGE RENNER & SONS FUNERAL HOME, Belleville, Ill.
George Renner & Sons Funeral Home
120 North Illinois Street Belleville, IL 62220
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on Jan. 2, 2014