Ronald Hooper

    ESSEX—Ronald Lee Hooper, 73, of Essex, IL, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 at his home surrounded by his wife and daughters.  
    He was born Feb. 8, 1944, and graduated from Reddick High School with the class of 1962.  Ron began his 50 year career with John Deere at Wheeler in Kankakee, then was drafted into the United States Army in 1966.  After serving in the Vietnam War, he married Roxanne Joyce, and together they raised their family in Essex. Ron was a lifelong farmer where he also raised and trained horses on their Sandy Lane Appaloosa Farm.  He served as superintendent of the Kankakee County Fair 4-H Horse and Pony Show for over three decades. Ron loved farming, raising and training horses, going out for breakfast, his wife, family, and grandchildren and watching the Chicago Cubs.
    A highlight of his life was attending game three of the 2016 World Series. Ron was a member of the VFW Post 9961 in Bourbonnais, St. Lawrence O'Toole Catholic Church in Essex, Appaloosa Horse Club, American Quarter Horse Association, and an honorary member of the KWI Saddle Club. He was awarded 1999 Exhibitor of the Year at the Grundy County Agricultural District Fair, was 2011 Grundy County Agriculture District Fair Grand Champion High Point Horse Gamer, given in memory of Sean Hooper, and received the Kankakee County 4-H Alumni Award.  
    Surviving are his wife, Roxanne, who he married May 4, 1968; two daughters, Tara (Braulio) Casas, of Santa Monica, CA and Kari (Blake) Walles, of Wilmette, IL; seven grandchildren: Cecilia, Josephine, Catherine and Lucas Casas and Annalee, Holden, and Anders Walles; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Michelle Laird, Terrance and Gail Joyce, Maureen Joyce and Kelly and Matt Fogarty; brother-in-law, Milo Veigelt and numerous nieces and nephews.  
    Preceding him in death was his son, Sean Michael Hooper; parents, Harold Hooper and Mary (nee Dunn) and step-father, Everett Brousseau; sisters, Shirley Shulk and Beverly Veigelt and brother-in-law, Robert Shulk.  
    A Mass of Christian Burial was held Monday, Jan. 22, 2018 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Reddick. Rev. William O'Shea and Rev. Stanley Drewniak officiated. Interment with military honors followed in North Cemetery in Essex.
   Memorial gifts in his name may be directed to the Kankakee County 4-H Foundation.  
    For more information and to visit his online guestbook, log onto or find their Facebook page.
    R.W. Patterson Funeral Home & Crematory, 401 E. Main St., Braidwood was in charge of arrangements.