Henry Walshon Jr., 89, decorated WWII vet, enjoyed dancing

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Henry "Hank" Walshon Jr., 89, died on March 17, 2012 at Alden Town Manor in Cicero. A longtime resident of Oak Park both at the Heritage House and the Oak Park Arms, he was born in Chicago on Sept. 22, 1922 to Henry and Stella (nee Doucet) and spent his early years living above his father's bakery on Belmont Avenue, raising carrier pigeons on the roof. As a student at Lane Technical High School, he excelled as an athlete and was known around campus as the "Boy of the Flying Feet." After graduating in 1940, he remained active in the Lane Tech Alumni Association and attended every class reunion since graduation.

His pre-med studies at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana were interrupted by WWII. He enlisted in the Marine Corp in 1943 and served 14 months in the South Pacific Theater as a navigator-bombardier on a B-25, flying 52 missions. He was awarded the air medal and his experiences were recorded by the Oak Park Historical Society. In October of 2010, he made a trip to Washington D.C. to see the World War II Memorial with Honor Flight Chicago.

After the war, Mr. Walshon married Jean Clohecy and they had identical twin daughters, Penelope and Pamela. He worked for Search Dynamics for most of his professional life and after his retirement, he could be seen summers in Grant Park attending the many music festivals and dance events. He was a regular at the Oak Park Farmers Market and could be found dancing at all the Oak Park festivals. He had a passion for music, particularly ethnic music, as well as dancing. His warm, sunny nature meant giving out hugs to all he met. He enjoyed meeting people from around the globe and learned to say hello in 40 different languages, a talent he enjoyed into his 80s.

He had an interest in local and national politics and served as an election judge for many years at Heritage House. He was also a generous donor to many causes and a lifelong blood donor. As a final act of generosity, he donated his body for scientific study.

Hank Walshon Jr. is survived by his children, Penelope (Joe) Iovino and Pamela Ziebell; his grandchildren, Jay (Lisa) Iovino, Kendra (Ken) Globicki, Lanette (Dustin) Hess, and Renee (Quinn) Shick; his great-grandchildren, Robyn and Rebecca Iovino, Jacob Iovino, Bryan Globicki, Trevor and Makena Hess, and Sophia and Madeline Shick; and his sister, Marilyn Eckholm. He was preceded in death by his wife, Blanche (nee Swanson).

A celebration of Hank's life will be held on May 20, 2012 at Heritage House, 201 Lake St., Oak Park from 2-6 p.m. He will be interred at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. Memorials may be made to United Service Organizations (www.uso.org) or to Honor Flight Chicago (www.honorflightchicago.org).

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