Joseph Russell Hafer, 65, passed away Trinity Sunday, May 30, 2021 shrouded in prayer at UIC Hospital in Chicago, surrounded by his immediate family reminiscing about the good times and how Joe made their lives better. Joe’s Mother (Louise Hafer) passed the same weekend 6 years ago. Visitation will be held 10:00 am – 12:00 pm Thursday June 10, 2021 at Rosenbaum Funeral Home in Gibson City followed by his funeral service beginning at 12:00 pm. Burial with military rites will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Sibley. Memorial contributions may be made to Multiple Myeloma Association, St. John’s Lutheran Church-Sibley or Gibson Area Hospital.
Joe was born on a hot night August 20, 1955 in Gibson City, Illinois to William Russell Hafer and Louise Margaret (Cramer) Hafer. They lived 4 miles south of Sibley on a dairy farm before moving to another farm just east of Sibley. He graduated from Melvin Sibley High School in 1973. While in high school, he found his calling for playing music which was a major focus for the rest of his life. He joined the US Navy in Jan of 1976 and spent 3 years serving his country. After being honorably discharged, he had various jobs of which were driving the chicken truck delivering young chicks and delivering X-ray materials for hospitals in Central Illinois. He also obtained a degree from Worsham College of Mortuary Science. In 2004 he went to work for the Department of Motor Vehicles in Gibson City where he worked till his retirement in 2019.
His real love was music which he strived to improve on every day. He played with numerous bands in Central Illinois one of which was the Bellflower Opry and Rick Roy. He also played numerous years with a band called “Jawbone Stew”. Joe’s talent became well known and his fiddle, guitar and mandolin skills were requested frequently for many events. While playing in these bands he met the love of his life Alyce A. Sullivan whom he married on January 21, 1983 in Kankakee. They moved to Sibley in 1998. Shortly after settling in Sibley, they had a daughter Sophie who is the love of their lives.
He is survived by his wife of thirty-eight years Alyce of Sibley. Their daughter Sophie of Sibley and a brother Chris (Kathy) Hafer of Soldotna, Alaska. Also, are two foster sisters he grew up with Susan Hefley Urbana and Georgia Plunkett. He was preceded in death by his parents. Joe had numerous hobbies which kept him pretty busy. The first of which was his music which he passed on to Sophie. She has become an excellent vocalist and keyboard player which can be attributed to her father. Joe also had a passion for old big cars. He has acquired several vintage Cadillacs and driven them for many years. His third passion was fixing up his older house which dates back to the late 1800’s. He also liked to tinker in the garden raising melons and tomatoes. Joe will be remembered mostly for his musical skills. His fiddle skills bring back many fond memories.