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Kenneth A. Hetchler

1929 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Kenneth A. Hetchler Obituary
Kenneth A. Hetchler

Born: May 9, 1929; in DeKalb, IL

Died: July 6, 2018; in DeKalb, IL

Kenneth A. Hetchler, 89, of Cortland, Illinois, died Friday, July 6, 2018 at Pine Acres Rehab and Living Center in DeKalb.

He was born on May 9, 1929, in DeKalb, Illinois, the third son of Wilfred N. and Dorothy Loretta Hetchler. His two brothers, William Clayton and Floyd Wilfred; and his sister, Sharon Louise Hetchler Sherman precede him. Ken has three nephews and two nieces.

Ken went to Haish School through the 8th grade and one year at DeKalb Township High School. He dropped out of school at age 16 as the walls could not keep him indoors; he preferred working outdoors and with animals. While in school he worked for Vic Peterson on the farm. After leaving school he went to work for Vernon Vesta (1946) picking chickens, doing the egg route and delivering in Chicago. He began working at Nehring Electrical Works in 1947 and worked there for six years. He met Doris Hudson in 1947 and they married May 14, 1949. They bought their home and moved to Cortland on Thanksgiving Day of that year. The home cost $4,500 and they borrowed $2,500. The mortgage was paid in full at Christmas time while Ken was stationed in Korea.

Ken joined the National Guard Service in 1947; Service Company 44th Division 129th Infantry, Sycamore Illinois. He was called to federal service in February 1952 with his unit and sent to California. He was stationed to Camp Cook; (US Army 377th Transportation Truck Company 69th Battalion, 8th Army), then in September to Korea. He returned to Cortland in September 1953.

Ken began working at Cortland-Chase Yards, Leo Elkins was the owner, in 1951. He returned to work in 1953 until 1955. In 1955 he began his career in artificial breeding with Curtiss as a distributor and technician. In 1966 he began working for W.R. Grace a fertilizer business located in Cortland until 1977. He then went back to work for Cortland-DeKalb Yards as a manager.

In the spring of 1950 Ken purchased an old truck and started hauling trash on Saturdays in an effort to help clean up Cortland.

Ken began working for the Town of Cortland in 1955. He began as a Police Magistrate and after two years was elected as a trustee for a four-year term.

Ken was elected Mayor in April 1957 and served in that position for 16 years (4 terms). He chose to run once again and was elected in April 1977 and held the position 20 more years, until 1997. Ken, to date, is the longest serving Mayor for the Town of Cortland. During his years many things were accomplished. A zoning board was created, ordinances were upgraded and or created, a Planning Commission was created, lands were developed that allowed for the building of subdivisions, which in turn brought businesses.

As those businesses aged new businesses developed, older properties began to be upgraded and/or new structures built. Large ticket items for Cortland were a public sanitary sewer system begun in 1976 with the DeKalb County Sanitary District (DCSD) now known as Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District operated by DeKalb County, development of public water systems (Briarwood Acres and Woodland Acres subdivisions were private well systems given to the town for operation.)

Connection of those water systems began in 1987 with a grant to construct a water tower; a town garage was built in 1977 to house sewer equipment, snow plows and mowing equipment; a full service restaurant, creation and development of Cortland Industrial Park, one building is known as the Hetchler Building; Cortland Community Park (1980's) and Welch Park, several other parks were created during subdivision processes, one park bearing the name Hetchler Park in Woodland Acres; Resource Bank, Casey's General Store and Mobil Mart.

In 1977 Ken began working for the town in a full-time capacity. He worked in streets and maintenance-plowing roads, patching and seal coating roads, sanitary sewer cleaner, storm sewer cleaner and mowing of town properties.

During his term he worked with the DeKalb County Highway Department and Illinois Department of Transportation to facilitate road improvements from North Avenue south to Illinois Route 38, a state of Illinois road spur under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Transportation and installation of a four way traffic light at the intersection of Illinois Route 38 and Somonauk Road, generally referred to in the past as Cortland Corners. This is an improvement that travelers today take for granted. After the completion of this project IDOT returned later and installed storm water drainage, curbs and street lights at the intersection.

Ken was employed by Resource Bank doing maintenance as well as being an ambassador of the bank for over 25 years. Ken was a loyal and personal friend of the Katz family.

Ken was a charter member and first elected president of the Cortland Lions Club in 1973. The lions club in conjunction with the Town developed Cortland Community Park. The main shelter belongs to the Club. Both the Club and the town continue to maintain aspects of this park.

Ken, although he has no family ties to the Mound Rest Cemetery volunteered his time and resources to the maintenance of the cemetery. He served on the Association Board for many years as its president.

As sometimes happens gatherings become a habit which is how the "OFC" came into existence. The "Old Farts Club" began when old neighbors who had moved away came back, those who stayed began meeting and reminiscing and the habit of meeting continues to this day. This is a good habit.

Although Ken and Doris may not have had biological children they have fostered many through the years with their time and resources and the Town of Cortland became their child.

A Life Celebration will be held on Thursday, July 12, at the Town of Cortland Lion's Club Shelter from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with full military rites by the American Legion Post #66 Honor Guard at 7:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Kenneth A. Hetchler Memorial Fund, addressed to the Hetchler Family in care of Anderson Funeral Home, Ltd., P.O. Box 605, 2011 South Fourth Street, DeKalb, IL 60115.

For information, visit www.AndersonFuneralHomeLtd.com or call 815-756-1022.
Published in Daily-Chronicle from July 10 to July 12, 2018
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