Naperville farming family member Wilbert F. Hageman dies

Image of Wilbert F. Hageman.
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Many friends and family described him as a hardworking family man, deeply rooted in his agricultural upbringing. Wilbert F. Hageman passed away at 93 on Saturday, Jan. 6 at the Bickford of Oswego, IL.

Who was Wilbert F. Hageman?

Wilbert was a long-time Naperville resident who spent his early days on a farm. He graduated from Naperville Community High School, eventually marrying his high school sweetheart, Ruth L. Hageman. 

His time was centered around family and agriculture service, working as a milk hauler for JJ Augsburg, transporting milk from area farms to Cloverleaf Dairy in Downers Grove. He went on to get his own milk truck, continuing his service to local farms.

Later in life, Wilbert managed Kearns Feed and Supply for 20 years. He then finished his career by building and running Wheatland Feed Center, before retiring in 2000. 

Devotion to preserving farm culture

Along with faithfulness to his family was his devotion to preserving the agricultural lifestyle. As a member of the DuPage Farm Bureau since 1948, he was committed to keeping farm culture alive. 

One of his achievements was organizing Farmers Plaza on the Naperville Riverwalk. He, alongside some friends, organized the Farmers Monument with names of Naperville farm families to celebrate the city’s cultural history.

Brochure of Wilbert F. Hageman.

Brochure of Wilbert.

Another was being president of the Wheatland Plowing Match Association, a group that sponsored plowing competitions among local farmers.

A standout moment for Wilbert was seeing his vision of an agricultural center being added to Naper Settlement with last year’s installment of the Mary and Richard Benck Family Agriculture Center.

“Such a wonderful person. He and Ruth were strong forces in ensuring that our agriculture roots live on perpetually at the museum,” said Rena Tamayo-Calabrese in a Facebook comment. “In one of my favorite videos, he came to visit the new building with Ruth and we had a class visit. He was so thrilled to see kids learn about agriculture.”

Other leadership roles

Wilbert was the DuPage County Fair president for several years. Many people he met through this role became like family to him. 

“Mr. DuPage County Fair, you will be so missed. God bless you and all your family,” said Ann Ruzicka Winckler in a Facebook comment. “So fortunate to have called you [a] friend all these years.”

He was also known for his love of sports, playing many in high school. Years later, he managed the Kiwanis Little League team for many years, eventually winning the State Championship with his Naperville All-Star team in 1963. 

“I loved playing ball for him, he was the coach of our Pony League championship team. He also coached the ‘63 Little League State Championship Team that came within a run of winning the LL Championship in Canton,” said Dean Reschke in a Facebook comment. “I found him to be kind, humble, and an exemplar of decency.”

Remembering Wilbert F. Hageman

Visitation for Wilbert will be on Friday, Jan. 12 at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 44 S. Mill St. in Naperville from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, Jan. 13 at Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 36 N. Ellsworth St., Naperville, at 11:00 a.m. Burial will follow at the Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery. 

Courtesy: Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services

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