Darrell W. LaGue, 96, of Harvard, IL, passed away on Sunday, February 17, 2019, at Javon Bae Hospital in Rockford, IL, following a brief illness.
He was born March 20, 1922, in Jackson, MN, the son of Harold and Teresa (Verchota) LaGue.
He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings Mildred, Doris, and Audrey.
Darrell served in the United State Navy 84th Construction Battalion- better known as the Seabees- in the Asiatic Pacific Theater during World War II. While there he assisted in building bases, airstrips, and field hospitals. He slept in tents while wrapped in mosquito netting and during “down time” would eat lunch with pilots and a Navajo code keeper. He rode out a hurricane at sea while stationed topside and saw the most beautiful sunset he ever witnessed when he sailed into Brisbane, Australia, for rest and relaxation. A recognized expert marksman, he carried his rifle with him at all times. The greatest pride of his military service was that he never had to use that rifle to take a human life. His greatest fear was that his battalion would receive orders to “move out” and he wouldn’t get the word and be left behind. He received the Philippines Liberation 1 Bronze Star Victory Medal.
After the war, he along with his parents purchased the Divide Resort on the Turtle Lakes in Winchester, WI. There he rebuilt log cabins and enjoyed fishing in the Northwoods for three years.
Upon returning to the Chicago area, he worked as a heavy industrial and diesel mechanic for fifteen years.
Darrell married Lillian Kruse on November 12, 1949, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Addison, IL. They and their two children resided at Lillian’s family farm homestead until 1963 when they moved to Marengo, IL, where Darrell became a full-time farmer.
During his spare time, he remodeled the farmhouse, building cabinets, enclosing the porch, and finishing the basement. Outdoors he built additional buildings, assembled grain bins, and re-engineered various pieces of agricultural equipment to facilitate sustainable agricultural production. He continued to make repairs and tinker with ideas well into his 90’s.
Darrell was devoted to Lillian and his children and told them, “You are my life; I’ve got the best thing!”
He loved little children and would often give them a big smile and a wink when he saw them in the grocery store. They were never afraid of the tall man with large ears, long arms, and huge hands; hands which symbolized his strength, touched with gentleness, and displayed his patience. The balance has shifted for those who knew him. It is the responsibility of all of us to carry on the creativity, kindness, and goodness of this extraordinary man.
Survivors include his wife of 69 years, Lillian; his son David (Julie) LaGue and his daughter Linda (Mark) Knudsen; four grandchildren, Lydia LaGue, Lowell LaGue, Matthew (Holly) Knudsen, and Michelle (Adam) Crannell; four great-grandchildren, Lukas Crannell, Kaleb Crannell, MaKenzie Knudsen, and Ethan Knudsen.
Visitation will be from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, February 23, 2019, at Zion Lutheran Church, 412 Jackson St., Marengo, IL 60152. Funeral services will follow at 11:30 a.m. with Pastor John Ripke officiating. Interment will be in Dunham Chemung Cemetery along Pagles Road.
Memorial donations may be made to Zion Lutheran Church, Marengo, IL.
Family and friends may sign the online guest book at www.saundersmcfarlin.net.
For more information call Saunders & McFarlin Funeral Home at 815-943-5400.