ooftaDad died just over a month ago and we are still feeling his presence.  Mom still can’t believe he is really gone. It is hard for her to look at the spot in the living room where he sat for years in his recliner, then in a hospital bed the last week of his life. He went so much faster than either one of them expected. I think when the doctors said, “this treatment COULD buy you an additional several months and you COULD live for as many as 40 months”, they heard, “You WILL still be here in August 2015”.  Time passes so slowly when you wait for something to happen, but my Dad was not one to let the grass grow under his feet.  He decided to live the best life he could during the time he was given.

Tim McGraw says it best when he sings “Live like you are dying” I think my Dad did that.  He used the time to finish business.  He spent a lot of time talking with my brother Dan and sharing his feelings and just talking. He shared with me that he really did love my Mom even though he always gave her such a hard time, he did that to help her.  And then he cried.

He was able to reconnect with both of my sisters who had distanced themselves for a while – they may not have been part of his everyday life, but they always remained in my Dad’s heart. 

On Monday, we will celebrate Dad’s 75th birthday without him. It will be hard for my Mom but she is strong and she will be ok.

I had wanted to share a short video, but it is not letting me upload it onto this page.  Dad loved lobster and Mom thought he might enjoy one more taste, so she sent his granddaughter Shandi to Red Lobster to bring some back for him. We sat around sharing stories, especially the one when he took us (6 kids) to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, on a clam bake, and “insisted” we try the lobster.  Unfortunately for him, we all loved it.  I can still Dan feeding him the bite of lobster, and Dad closing his eyes, laying his head against the pillow, and just savoring the moment with his family by his bed.

He lived life right up to the end.



Gary D. Hadaway

DadGary D. Hadaway, 74, of rural Minooka, Illinois, passed away peacefully Saturday morning, April 6, 2013, in his home, with his loving wife and family by his side, after a courageous  battle with cancer.  He was the first born of six children on May 13, 1938 in Story City, Iowa,  the son of Roland and Mary Baldus Hadaway.  With his parents they moved to Minooka, Illinois in 1942 to make their home.

He received his education in the Minooka schools.

He served his country in the U.S. Army in the 2nd Armored Division with the rank of Sgt . 1st Class where he served as a tank commander on the German border and a Drill instructor at Fort Hood, Texas.

Gary married the love of his life, Judith A. Todd, on November 7, 1955 in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Minooka, Illinois.

Gary enjoyed his talent for farming and was a member of the Carpenters  Union.  He farmed in the summer and helped build the Minooka High School, Dresden Nuclear Power Plant, and many other commercial buildings during the winter.

He was an outdoorsman that possessed a quick wit and was known for his stories.  He was a White Sox, Chicago Bears, and Notre Dame sports fan and an active member of his community, serving as a volunteer on the Minooka Volunteer Fire Department for over 30 years, and as a president of the fire department for 25 years.

Gary was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

Surviving is his loving wife, Judy; five children, Beth (David) Berndt of Huntley, Illinois, Dan (Stacey) Hadaway of Lafayette, Indiana, Jacki Spilker of New Smyra Beach, Florida, Susan (Stephan) Delgado of Tampa, Florida, Mike (Sheila) Hadaway of Winona, Minn.; fifteen grandchildren,  Nicholas, Nathan, Zachary ,Dani, Jacki, Todd, Justin, An Mei, Tim, Andy, Jenny, Steve, Lexi, Kelli, and Shaundra;  two great grandchildren, Avery and Preston;  one sister, Mary Jean, (Thomas) Matthiesen of Cary, Illinois;  three brothers, James (Barbara) Hadaway of Morris, Illinois, Steven (Jean) Hadaway of St. Joseph, Michigan, Rodger (Bernadette) Hadaway of Ponte Vedra, Beach, Florida; along with several nieces and nephews.

Preceeded by parents; one son, Patrick Hadaway on September 7, 2001; and one brother, Ronald Hadaway in July of 1963.

Friends may call Tuesday, April 9, 2013 from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.  at U.C. Davis and Sons Funeral Home LTD., 301 W. Washington St., Morris, Illinois.  Mass of Christian Burial with Rev. Fr. Tuan Nguyen officiating will be celebrated Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. in St.Mary’s Catholic Church in Minooka, Illinois.  Interment will follow in Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery with Military Honors conducted by the Morris Color Guard.

Online condolences can be extended to the family on this blog or through the Davis Funeral home site by clicking here.  For further information, please call 815-942-0084.

Memorial details


August 2012

Wake – Tuesday, April 9 at the Davis Funeral Home – 301 W. Washington St, Morris Illinois – from 4 – 8

Funeral times are still tentative: Wednesday morning, April 10, 10:30am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church – 301 W. St. Mary’s St., Minooka, IL

Military Burial – 12:30 Wednesday afternoon at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery – 20953 W. Hoff Rd, Elwood, Illinois.

Everyone is invited back to St. Mary’s Church following the burial at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for lunch and fellowship and to share happy memories of my Dad.


We watched you slowly leave us,
moaning your song at times.
And now you also grieve us,
turning to hear the chimes.

We stood around your death bed,
telling you stories of love,
And then we scratched your dry head,
lifting you up from above.

We heard the stories about you,
amid the beeps and alarms.
Your family and friends were the hue,
painting the scene of your farms.

You grew your corn and your beans,
your cows and your pigs and your hens,
But you would use any means,
to be the farmer of friends.

Rest in Peace Dad



Dad passed away this morning at 9:30. Funeral arrangements are pending and we will post them here and in the Joliet and Morris Herald.


534e0315f7d7bb4712182bf0b718dce4My Dad has always been a bit stubborn and in control of his world, and sometimes others too, so it is so fitting that we are all waiting around him to send him off to meet my brother and many others who have transitioned before him, and he is still hanging in there.  He shows more signs of leaving this earth every few hours. About 3am I had a dream that woke me up and I checked in on him. I was told he would probably go within the hour. It’s now 7am and he is still with us. 

It is just so hard to watch him struggle for air and have him here but not able to share a story.

My son asked why I didn’t post more stories yesterday on Facebook.  Well, I guess because Dad wasn’t talking.  My siblings and I sure did have fun reminiscing again though. And some memories were worth sharing several times. Once when we were all gathered around the bed, we started talking about family vacations we had taken and thanking him for what he had taught us over the years; we got so loud that I am sure he was thinking, “QUIET!” He used to have to tell us that a few times.  Ok a lot of times. Every day.

Yesterday the nurse asked if there was unfinished business that he had, something that might delay his passing.  My brother checked the list and as far as he knew, Dad had achieved everything he set out to do. 

The past 3 weeks has been bittersweet. Dad was always so strong and when he would get sick, fresh air would cure it. Watching him decline so fast, fall, become hospitalized and be subjected to the indignities that come with aging, illness, and hospitals was hard. Then during the same week, to watch his face light up and soften when he saw the pictures of his new great grandson and great granddaughter was precious. He finds Avery to be full of energy and spirit and loved watching her play and engage with people.  He compared her to me when he saw the picture of her feeding her new baby brother.

For the first time in 23 years all of our siblings were in the same room with my Dad and Mom along with my niece Shandi, the only daughter of my brother Patrick who died during 9/11. His family was together again. He said good-by to our spouses and his grandchildren. My niece Dani is in Japan so she can’t get back, but boy he is so very proud of her and while she can’t be here in person, my brother has shared a message she skyped to her Grandpa so her spirit is felt all around him.

So the waiting continues. I believe that now that he knows that everyone is home, and Mom is going to be ok and looked after, he will relax and let go. But it might take awile, because that is just the way dad is.


Dad and his friend Donna parasailing in Florida, 2011

Last night 4 of Dad’s kids were sitting around him telling stories and suddenly he started to mean and twitch. We decided he was telling us we had some of the details wrong, so he decided to tell the story.  We just listened and then started laughing.  So typical of my Dad. 🙂 This morning however, the breaths are much shorter and more labored. Susan will be here at noon. Then Mom, Dan, Jacki, Susan, Mike and I will surround his bed and pray.

I found these pictures on his computer.  In 2011 their friends Donna and Al Chesko went to visit them in Florida.  Dad had always wanted to parasail so Donna went with him.  I will try to post others.

He looks very different from the way he looked in this picture. We hope it won’t be long now.