John William “Bill” Hartford, 80, of Gibson City, peacefully passed away Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at his home in Gibson City. The Rosary will be recited at 12:30 pm Sunday January 23, 2022 at Rosenbaum Funeral Home in Gibson City followed by visitation from 1-3 p.m. Funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday, January 24, 2022 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Gibson City, with the Rev. Father Dong Van Bui and Deacon Paul Sarantakos officiating. Burial will follow at Drummer Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church or to the Gibson City Music Foundation. Masks and social distancing will be encouraged.
Bill was born Dec. 20, 1941, in Bloomington, a son of Dr. James J. and Leone M. (Knapp) Hartford.
He is survived by two brothers, Peter J. Hartford and Thomas R. Hartford, both of Gibson City, and a sister, Suzanne M. (Robert) Martensen of Bayles Lake, Loda. He is also survived by two nieces, Kathy Martensen (Brent Rasmus) of Champaign and Julie Martensen (Jason Colwell) of Chicago, and four great-nephews.
Bill graduated from Gibson City High School in 1960. He received his Bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph College in 1964, his teaching certificate in 1965 from Southern Illinois University, and a Master’s degree in biology from the University of Illinois in 1971. He taught chemistry and physics at Magnolia-Swanee High School in Hennepin. He then worked at the University of Illinois with Professor Solomon in the lead testing research lab. Changing careers found him working for Kollross Insulation, then starting Hartford Oxygen Delivery service to area hospitals and nursing homes. He also remodeled three houses. Bill retired and then started Hartford Lawn Care and Snow Removal with his brother Tom.
Bill was a loyal lifetime member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, where he enjoyed singing in the church choir for more than 50 years and co-chairing the annual turkey dinner with his brother Tom for many years. He performed many leading roles in Gibson City Music Club musicals and loved the opera, especially Jussi Bjoerling and Maria Callas. He played softball, lettered in baseball in high school and was a gifted bowler. He helped his sister Sue organize the St. Jude Bike-a-thon in Loda for seventeen years.
Bill’s family would like to send a heartfelt thanks to Dr. David Hagan, Gibson Area Hospital Emergency Room staff and paramedics for the care and concern given to Bill.