Kenneth Eugene Hicks of Genoa, IL and formerly of Belvidere, IL passed away peacefully at his farm on August 1, 2018. Ken was born June 11, 1945 in Sycamore, IL the son of Lyle and Wava (Smith) Hicks. He lived on several farms in DeKalb and Boone County while growing up. He attended country schools of Kishwaukee, Garden Prairie and Reeds Crossing; graduated from Belvidere High School in 1963 and Northern Illinois University in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Economics. Ken worked at gas stations and Green Giant while in school from 1960 through 1967. He served our country in Cu Chi Vietnam from 1968 and 1969. Returning from Vietnam he resumed work at Green Giant as a supervisor in frozen shipping and receiving until his retirement in 2005. A slave to fashion, he would be seen in the middle of winter in shorts and tank shirts even in the freezer of Green Giant. He would enjoy a 10 minute nap in the closet of his office and be refreshed for the rest of the day. Kenneth went to work again after 6 months of retirement when he said this is enough. He worked for Caledonia Township, plowing snow, mowing grass and laying cold patch. He enjoyed it there so much. Kenneth retired from the township in 2016.
Ken always said leave something better than you found it. He could take a pile of rust and make it show room ready, he restored them all in the corn crib at the farm, sitting on a stool chipping away at old paint on cast iron and cleaning sheet metal to get it ready for new paint. Ken had a strong compassion for preservation of farm land, history and machinery, especially Minneapolis Moline tractors and equipment. He grew up watching area farmers using Minneapolis Moline equipment. He had a special place in his heart for the 1936 John Deer A his grandfather bought new and farmed the land.
Kenneth enjoyed volunteering at Vintage Wings and Wheels Museum of Poplar Grove where he served as director; as well as being a member of Northern IL Tractor Club and Floyd County Museum in Charles City, Iowa. He was a member of Minneapolis Moline Collector club, Boone County Historical Museum and Illinois Rail Museum. He enjoyed watching Bears football, Bulls basketball and Cubs baseball, Old movies and Apple Pie. Ken liked to strategize while playing cards with best friends, as well as going to steam and air shows.
Music was a big part of his life, enjoyed all kinds and especially Fiddle music. He played co-ed Volley Ball at the YMCA, Ken was the oldest guy on the league, no one could return his serves. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge of tractors and always let kids, big and small, climb on them, so our heritage lives on.
Kenneth married Sherry Page on October 20, 1979 at First United Methodist Church Chapel in Belvidere.
Ken is loved and will be missed by his wife, Sherry; children, Bryan, Tonia (Andy) Henning, Christine (John) Rittschof; grandchildren, Benjamin E. Hicks, Emma Page Rittschof; sister, Doris Charlesworth. He is preceded in death by his parents, grandparents and sister Diane Hicks.
Visitation will be held from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Sunday, August 5, 2018 at Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services, 218 W. Hurlbut Avenue, Belvidere, Il. Funeral services for Ken will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday at the funeral home. Memorials can be given in care of Ken’s family. To share a memory please visit www.AndersonFCS.com