William Richard ‘Dick’ Hedlund
William Richard “Dick” Hedlund, 80, of St. Charles, formerly and most proudly of West Aurora, peacefully passed away at his home, following a short but fierce battle with pancreatic cancer, on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. He stared down the cancer as only a Marine could. It broke his body but never his spirit. And one of his favorite sayings—”Once a jarhead, always a jarhead,” echos as his legacy.
He was born Sept. 8, 1933, in Aurora, the son of William and Genevieve Hedlund.
Though Dick spent many of his growing up years in several Aurora area towns, he always considered West Aurora his home. He attended local schools and graduated from West Aurora with the class of 1950, where he was a standout football player and was a boxer of note, undefeated at the local YMCA.
Upon graduation, Dick began working at ComEd, but shortly thereafter he enlisted in the United States Marine Corp. After faithfully and proudly serving his country, he was honorably discharged and returned to ComEd, where he finished a 38-year career, retiring as a crew leader.
Dick met the love of his life by chance. He was supposed to pick up his date, but she wasn’t there. He was consoled by the fact that her roommate, Katherine “Kitty” Naughton, went in her place. The rest was history. They were united in marriage on Oct. 21, 1961.
They began their new life together in West Aurora for a time before building one of the first houses in Wasco, off of Empire Road.
They would live and raise a family for only a few short years before they lost their oldest son, John, on Oct. 2, 1969. Kitty lost her life to a rare cancer in 1977; that left Dick alone to raise his three boys. He never flinched from duty, his devotion was resolute, and you could search the world but never find a dad who did a better job or loved his boys more. The home was filled with thousands of memories, and when the kids were grown and on their own, grandchildren became his passion. He loved them with a singular intensity that was his trademark in anything he did.
Dick was a proud member of the Maple Park American Legion No. 312.
Dick was very proud of his Swedish heritage and hosted family gatherings when his relatives came from his homeland. Those gatherings and gatherings thereafter had one thing in common: beer. He liked to say, “I either have beer or I am out getting beer.”
His friendships were stronger than oak, and his word was stronger than that but nothing compared to the love he had for his family. Being a single dad was tough, but there was no other that was more devoted to their children. Three boys, three sports, three different games or meets each week—and he never missed even one. Dick made sure that they never wanted for anything. His boys not only got what they needed, but he also made sure there were yearly cross-country trips in a ’78 Dodge van to Disney, to the western states, fishing in Canada, and snowmobiling in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.
He is survived by three sons, Joe (Megan) Hedlund and their son Viktor Stanley, Jim (Cori) Hedlund and their daughter Emma Grace, and
Jaret (Amy) Hedlund and his sons Noah Thomas and John Richard; three siblings, Sally Keup, Herman (Kathy) Kussro and Mike (Cathy) Kussro; many nieces and nephews and a brotherhood of friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Kitty; one son, John Patrick; and one brother, Walter.
Visitation was held Friday at Conley Funeral Home. A funeral to celebrate his life and faith was held Saturday, also at the funeral home. Interment followed at Resurrection Cemetery, Geneva.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit Dick’s favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “W. Richard Hedlund Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.