HAMILTON, Ill. -- Kenneth Harlan DeYong, 88, of Hamilton, died at 9:21 a.m. Saturday (Nov. 3, 2012) in Chester, Va., at his daughter's home.
He was born on March 4, 1924, in Wayland, Mo., the ninth of 12 children of Ira and Nellie Schneider DeYong of Warsaw.
Immediately after graduating from Warsaw High School in 1943, Kenneth served during World War II
, from 1943 to 1946, in the U.S. 6th Army in the South Pacific with a rank of sergeant. Under the command of General Krueger, he served in Brisbane, Australia, to New Guinea, to the Philippine Islands and Kyoto, Japan. Upon completing military service, he attended the University of Illinois
where he graduated in 1951 with a bachelor of education degree. He received a master of education degree in 1954 from Illinois State University and a specialist degree in education from Western Illinois University in 1977.
He married Mary Kathryn Eshom in 1948 in Carthage. She died in 1984.
His teaching career began in Gridley and continued in Benson and Glen Ellyn, where he began his administrative duties as principal. He served as superintendent of schools in Hamilton from 1962 to 1972. He worked in the Illinois State Office of Education for several years before becoming superintendent of the Dallas City School District. He retired from the Knoxville School District in 1983 after 32 years in education.
Kenneth served on the Hamilton City Council in 1983 and was elected mayor in 1984, serving two terms from 1984 to 1992. During his tenure, he participated in the dedication of the new Hamilton-Keokuk Mississippi River bridge, was instrumental in obtaining federal money for the new Hamilton senior citizen housing project and was a strong advocate for road improvement in Hancock County and the building of the new water treatment plant in Hamilton. He also served on the Hancock County Housing Authority Board.
Kenneth was a member of the First Christian Church of Hamilton, Veterans
of Foreign Wars, Illinois Retired Teachers Association, the Sierra Club, the Smithsonian Institute, and the National Wildlife Federation.
He was an avid traveler and took his family on numerous summer road trips. After retiring, he traveled abroad. He enjoyed working in his garden, bird watching in his backyard, watching college football and basketball games, and had a passion for politics, being a lifelong member of the Democratic Party.
In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents; six brothers, Ira, Frederick, Russell, Robert, Gerald (Tay) and Wayne; three sisters, Nellie, Harriet and Marjorie; one niece; and four nephews.
Survivors include five daughters, Linda (Jack) Harris of Chester, Va., Karen (Dennis) Sievers of Highland, Anne (Roy) Jones of Bloomington, Lisa (Steve) O'Donnell of Lakewood, and Maura DeYong of Palm City, Fla.; 12 grandchildren, Christopher (Jennifer) Harris, Jason (April) Harris, Alane Harris (Vince) Redmond, Adam (Karlynn) Sievers, Alison Sievers (Scott) Schaefer, Daniel and Ryan Jones, Mary, Keegan, Liam and Seamus O'Donnell and Brian Ellis; and 11 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters, Marcia Starbuck of Queen City, Mo., and Janet Jingst of Fort Collins, Colo., and 12 nieces and nephews.
SERVICES: 10 a.m. Saturday in the Lamporte-St. Clair Funeral Home in Hamilton. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery in Hamilton with full military honors.
VISITATION: 3 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Lamporte-St. Clair Funeral Home of Hamilton with the family meeting friends between 5 and 8 p.m.
MEMORIALS: In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Hamilton Christian Church or the Hamilton VFW.
ARRANGEMENTS: Lamporte-St. Clair Funeral Home, Hamilton.