Horace S. Villars, Jr. – known to his friends as Hank – died Sunday, June 25 in Woodstock, IL. He died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones. He was preceded in death by his wife of sixty-four years, Patricia Ann Villars, in 2016.
Hank was born in San Francisco on March 15, 1931. The son of an Army doctor, he grew up as a self-described Army brat, moving 18 times in his youth. As a child he had a Shetland pony - old photographs of him as a six-year old riding on his pony were the envy of his children and grandchildren. He attended high school in the Panama Canal Zone, where he became fluent in Spanish, a skill he never forgot. He was an accomplished swimmer and worked as a lifeguard while in Panama.
Hank attended Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He met and married his wife, Patti, while they both attended Northwestern. He graduated with a degree in Political Science in 1952 – with his first daughter, barely two months old, in his arms during the graduation ceremony. As their family grew, Hank and Patti moved from Lincoln Park West to Rogers Park and then to Elk Grove Village in 1959, where they lived for almost 30 years. Early on, Hank was active in the Jaycees and he was the founder, editor, and publisher of the Town Crier newspaper, wearing the full Town Crier regalia in Elk Grove’s annual Peony Pageant Parade. After the children were grown, Hank and Patti moved to Sleepy Hollow and then to the Del Webb Sun City retirement community in Huntley.
Hank loved to cook and his skill on the grill was legendary. Family members occasionally attempted to make a pot roast halfway as good as his, but never succeeded. He was famous for his “Villars Spaghetti” and for pies, especially since he always made enough to share.
Hank is survived by his sister, Emily Villars Zander; his five children: Rebecca (Martin) Davis, Thomas (Kate) Villars, Connie (Dave) Soper, Laura Leonard and Russell Villars; grandchildren Amy (Dave) Stuart, Sarah Leonard, Christie (Cameron) Nyquist, Jessica Davis, Jonathan (Kimberlee) Davis, Ivan Villars and Emily Traxler Suttman; nieces Louise Zander, Jacqueline (Kent) Zander Wall, great-niece Annelise Wall and nephew Hunter Adams; and the Grandpa-Hank-Fan-Club: his great grandchildren Felicity and Holly Stuart, Caden and Colton Nyquist, and Adaline and Diana Pelster Davis.
Hank leaves many friends across the United States. He was an extrovert with a good sense of humor and made friends everywhere. A longtime member of the Institute of Food Technologists, the annual IFT conventions were a highlight of his year for several decades. Over the years Hank worked for Armour, Durkee Foods, John Kraft, and McCormick Spice Company, before co-founding Food Ingredients, Inc. in 1971. He led that company until his retirement. Hank was an avid golfer – he was a member of Itasca Country Club for many years. No matter which course they were at, he loved nothing more than getting together with his duffer buddies for a round and a stop at the 19th hole. Over the last few years, his morning workouts with his cardiac rehab friends were the highlights of his week. He cared deeply for his friends there.
Per his wishes, there will not be a traditional funeral service. There will be a get-together in celebration of Hank’s life later in the year. Friends should contact the family for further details.
I miss you so much. Thanks for being such a wonderful grandpa, friend, great grandpa, and kind hearted person. Love you always.
An amazing man who will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure to know him.
Dear Connie, Laura and family; my sincere condolences to you all. After reading this, I wish I had met your father. What a beautiful tribute to quite a impressive man! Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
Hank Will Be Missed...!!!
My deepest sympathy to all of the Villars family. He was a great man. One I will always remember with fondness. I am so sorry for your loss
I am so very sorry for your loss, I always had great respect for your parents. We had some great times back in the day
What a beautiful tribute to your dad and grandfather!! He sounds like a wonderful man, and I know you must miss him terribly. My condolences to the family. May you find peace in all the beautiful memories...xo
What a wonderful tribute to your father/grandfather! His presence will be missed; his spirit lives on in you all. Hoping to hear more of these great memories during his Life Celebration later this year!!
It is always difficult to lose a loved one. My deepest sympathy to the Villars family. I am sure that the memories will however fill your hearts and he will live on through all of you.
Becky, Thom, Connie, Laura & Russell, Beautiful tribute to your father. He was always such a fun, kind and interesting man. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.
What an amazing man! He lived a full wonderful life surrounded by his beloved family & friends. He will be greatly missed. Our deepest sympathies to all of his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all with love.
Can't believe he's gone, love you, Dad. You'll always be in our hearts. Thankful for years and years of memories.
When I worked for Patti many. many years ago at Marshall Field's I had the pleasure of meeting Hank on a few occasions. He was a joy to be around - Hank and Patti were a lovely couple. Sorry for your family's loss.