Lawrence J. “Tuffy” Faber, 87, of Lily Lake, passed away at Delnor Hospital in Geneva on Friday, Feb. 4, 2011.
He was born Dec. 20, 1923, in Virgil, the son of Andrew and Mary (Berkes) Faber.
Lawrence, one of nine children, tragically lost his mother at the age of 2. His eldest sister, Margaret, helped his father in raising her younger siblings on their farm in Virgil. Life was not easy for the family, but they persevered. When Lawrence was about 6 years old, he was dared to run barefoot through a patch of thistles. He did, and was called “Tuffy” from then on.
Tuffy attended SS Peter and Paul school. Being the youngest son, he was soon called home to work in the fields and on the farm. It was during these early years that a strong love of family developed. His life revolved around his brothers and sisters as they worked together to make ends meet. It was also during these years that Tuffy learned determination and hard work. They milked the cows by hand and had only minimal machinery to work the land. Most everything was done by hand. There was no electricity on the farm or in the house until he was a young man. Life was hard, but no one complained.
In March during a warm spring rain when he was 25, Tuffy was unloading a silo when he was buried under an avalanche of silage. He miraculously survived and lived to cheat death once more, when in later years, he barely escaped after being downed by a dairy bull.
On a blind date arranged by Pauline’s sister, Frances, Tuffy met the love of his life, Pauline “Polly” Flanders. They married at St. Mary’s Church on Nov. 25, 1950. Their marriage lasted through many hardships and much joy as they celebrated their 60th anniversary last year.
Tuffy and Polly made their first home in an apartment in Sycamore, Ill., while Tuffy worked at Harbaugh Lumber Company. Tuffy’s love of farming never left him, and in 1954, he returned to the life he loved. He farmed on Winters Road in Maple Park, then on Dittman Road in Plato Center, Ill. It was during these years that their four children were born. After his retirement from farming in 1973, he and Polly moved to Lily Lake.
Retirement from farming did not mean retirement from work for Tuffy. As soon as he could, he found a job at Hummel Lumber Yard. He also worked for a time at Patterson Lumber Yard. After a few years, he began work for Northern FS, delivering feed and supplies to local farmers. All of these jobs suited him well. He loved driving around the countryside and visiting with the farmers in the area.
In his spare time, Tuffy planted a garden, raising enough vegetables for the whole neighborhood. Even though there were just the two of them, he planted 36 tomato plants every year. It brought him great joy to share the abundance with everyone.
One of his favorite hobbies was what he called “junking,” taking apart machinery from engines to lawn tractors, and anything metal that he could acquire. He carefully separated and cut all metals and recycled them. When it came time to take the metal to the salvage yard, he would load his truck with precision, getting as much as possible in it and come home and proudly hand a check to Polly.
Hard work was a way of life for Tuffy. If he did not know how to do something, he would find a way and then do it. There was nothing he couldn’t handle, and that work ethic was handed down to his children.
It was during his “retirement” years that Tuffy was blessed with his six grandchildren. He loved each and every one of them with all of his heart.
Tuffy loved a “crowd” and never met a stranger. When there was a gathering, his feelings were the more people the better.
He was always ready to lend a hand to anyone in need. If someone needed help, he would drop everything and pitch in. He used to say “that’s what I’m here for.” There was never a bad time to stop by his house. He was never too busy to stop what he was doing to visit with someone. His happiest times were when he was with family and friends.
He is survived by his loving wife, Pauline Faber of Lily Lake; three children, Loretta (Steve) Hatch of Maple Park, Charlotte “Char” (Mike) Johnson of Batavia, and Guy (Diane) Faber of Sycamore; six grandchildren, Ryan (Cheryl) Hatch of St. Charles, Larissa (Steve) Alcorn of Gilberts, Ill., Melanie Hatch of Maple Park, Keith Johnson of Batavia, Renee Johnson of Batavia, and Renee Garcia of Sycamore; two sisters, Therese Herrmann of Sycamore, and Mary Johnson of Kaneville; many nieces, nephews, his beloved Huskie, Raven, and a countryside of friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Mary Faber; his son, Lennie Faber; and six siblings, Joe Faber, Margaret Faber, Hank Faber, Tony Faber, Rosie Bertram and Madelyn Sibley.
Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with a funeral service to celebrate his life to follow at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. Burial will be private following cremation.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit his favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Lawrence Faber Memorial” and mailed in care of PO Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com, where his full life story may be read.