Larry D. Hamilton, age 88, of Mendon, passed away Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at Divine Rehabilitation and Nursing at Shane Hill, Rockford.
Born July 4, 1933, in Mendon, he was the son of Ronald D. & Edna I. (McMichael) Hamilton.
Larry married Betty M. Long on March 5, 1961, and she preceded him in death March 1, 2016.
He is survived by a son, Michael Hamilton of Mendon, a daughter, Beth (Tom) Hoenie of Celina, four grandchildren: Lisa Hoenie, Katie (Jeff) Vian, John Hoenie and Joshua Hoenie, two great granddaughters: Jenna May and Alexis Renee Vian, his sister, Deanne (Norman) VanTilburg of Rockford, and many nieces & nephews.
Preceding him in death were brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Robert & Eva Ritchie Sr., Jennie & Lewis Merkle Jr., and Viola & Ril Miller.
Larry was a 1951 graduate of Mendon-Union High School. A retired farmer, he had also owned and operated the Hamilton Stockyard in Mendon, and attended Mt. Tabor Church of God, Celina.
Larry enjoyed sharing stories of local history. He particularly enjoyed telling the adventures of "Elmer the Cat". Elmer, a cross-eyed calico cat, from the Hamilton Stockyard, was chosen from hundreds of cats nationwide to travel to Hollywood. Elmer, accompanied by Larry, were treated to an elaborate 11-day trip to California, where Elmer appeared in the television series "The Millionaire" in 1958. Larry received media attention from all around the area, due to Elmer's celebrity status. Larry treasured his scrapbooks of articles, photos and memorabilia from this occasion.
Larry enjoyed horse racing and traveled throughout the area to fairs and racetracks such as Scioto Downs and Chicago. He owned and raced several pacer horses over the years, but his horse, "Banta", was one of his favorites.
Larry enjoyed gardening with his wife Betty, especially growing sweet corn. He loved spending time with his grandkids, taking them out for rides and treats.
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, April 11, at Mt. Tabor Church of God, 9744 U.S. 127 North, Celina. Pastor Tom Powell is officiating, with Pastors Darwin Dunten and Kyle Stoker, assisting.
Burial will follow at Mendon Cemetery.
Calling Hours are 2:00-4:00 & 5:00-7:00 p.m., Sunday, April 10, at W.H. Dick & Sons-Hellwarth Funeral Home in Mendon, and 10:00-11:00 a.m. on Monday, at the Church.
Memorial Contributions may be made to EverHeart Hospice or Mt. Tabor Women of God.
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