John Hradel, 84

Published 11:27 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2012

John Hradel, 84
Born: Feb. 22, 1928
Died: April 9, 2012

John William “Bill” Hradel, 84, of Hickory Street, Niles, died at 11:32 a.m. Monday, April 9, 2012, at Lakeland Community Hospital in Niles unexpectedly, but of natural causes.

He was born Feb. 22, 1928, in Niles to Florian G. and Anna (Hodal) Hradel. He graduated from Niles High School, and was attending Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) before enlisting in the United States Army Air Corps. He returned as a veteran of World War II. During the 1960s, John lived in California, returning to Niles where he was employed at National-Standard for more than 20 years.

Bill was a member of Saint Mark Catholic Church, Niles, and of the Knights of Columbus 708. He was also a member of the B.P.O. of Niles Elks 1322 and the American Legion Post 26, Niles. He served on the Veteran’s Memorial Committee to construct the memorial at the Riverfront Park.

As a young man, he was an outstanding athlete, establishing many records at Niles High School, and at the 1952 Olympics was an alternate in shot put for the United States. He also bowled and golfed on area leagues, enjoyed dancing with his wife, hunted and grew roses.

Bill was first married to the former Norene J. Forbes. Later, on July 10, 1971, in Indiana, he married Henrica (VanDerHeyden) VanDyck.

He was preceded in death by a son, Carl VanDyck; a son-in-law, Don Crump; a grandson, Joel Crump; and siblings, Louis J. Hradel, Ella Hradel Rose, Joseph R. Hradel, Frank Hradel, John Hradel I, who died in childhood, and Julius Hradel, who died in infancy.

Bill is survived by his wife, Henrica, and by their children, Michael (Billie) VanDyck of Medina, Ohio, Anne (Jerry) Peterson of Allegan, Mich., Jane Crump of Yuma, Ariz., Julie (Dan) Kuhn of Leesburg, Ind., Chris (Gary) Walter of Niles, and Mark (Sharon) Hradel of Niles; a daughter-in-law, Brenda (Mrs. Carl) VanDyck of Michigan Center, Mich.; grandchildren, Dawn (Matt) Strength, Cari (Russell) Vanderheyden, Jeremiah and Joshua Peterson, Monica (Drew) Bordner, Erik (Lindsey) VanDyck, Emily and Nicole Kuhn, and Davion and Darious Hradel; great-grandchildren, Harper and Gwen Vanderheyden; and Bill’s siblings, G. Edward Hradel of Niles, Mary Hradel Tice of South Bend and Anne Hradel Brelowski of Niles; and many nieces and nephews.

The Mass of Christian Burial for John William Hradel will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, April 13, at Saint Mary Catholic Church in Niles by the Rev. William Melody of Notre Dame, Ind., and will conclude with full military honors by the United States Army Honor Guard and American Legion Post 51 of Buchanan. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery, Niles.

The family will receive relatives and friends from 6 until 8 p.m. Thursday at Halbritter Funeral Home, Niles, with recitation of The Rosary at 7:30 p.m.

Contributions in memory of Bill may be made to the Veteran’s Memorial Committee.