DIXON – Allan Reeves Esgar, 85, of Dixon died Sunday April 14, 2019 at home after fighting a long battle against cancer. Al is survived by his wife, Kathryn (Blain) Esgar whom he married June 21, 1996. Al was born April 23, 1933 at home in Vienna Township near Mazon, Illinois. The doctor arrived at the home after the birth but decided to charge the family $25 anyway. His parents, George M. Esgar and Edna Reeves Esgar preceded him in death, as did his older brother, Donald. Allan is survived by his siblings, Kenneth (Nancy) Esgar of Rochelle and Linda (Bob) Crane of Mazon. Even though Al grew up in the poverty of the times, he loved his childhood and believed it made him more appreciative in his life to follow.
Allan briefly attended the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign, but soon after joined the Air Force. He was stationed in Enid, Oklahoma, where he taught new pilots. He enjoyed telling stories from his days in the Air Force, recounting how he covered the glass of the cockpit so pilots would have to fly completely using instruments, even when they flew through the mountains. He will be remembered by his fellow instructor pilots from the 1950s, especially Phil Chenoweth. In Enid, he met his first wife, Alice Fay Leatherman. Al and Fay had five children, all of whom survive him: Greg (Sylvia) of Winfield, Iowa; Jeff (Vicky) of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin; Lisa (Dominic) Palazzolo of Springfield; Andy (Fanny Phillips) of Dixon; and Marty (Blanche) of Highland Park. He is also survived by twelve grandchildren: Megan and Daniel Esgar, Kelsey (Joel) Lierman; Benjamin (MacKenzie) and Joseph Esgar; Steven and Nicole Palazzolo; Edward, Warren, Vivian, and Donald Esgar; Stephanie Phillips (Michael Kaiser); and two great-grandchildren: Caleb and Collins J. Marie Esgar. He was preceded in death by daughter-in-law Jeanne Marie (Lauer) Esgar.
Al worked his whole live in agriculture. When not farming with his parents, even when they used draft horses, he worked at the FS feed mill in Mendota, Illinois. He then worked for Growmark, Inc. inspecting feed mills for quality assurance. Al passed along his love of the farm to his children. The family always had a large garden and several animals. Al raised purebred Brittanys for years, and enjoyed pheasant and deer hunting with his children. The family also raised and showed rabbits. Al served as an adult leader of his children’s 4-H club and was the superintendent of the rabbit judging at the Lee County 4-H Fair for years. Later in life, Al and Kathy established a loft of homing pigeons, which they raced competitively. Not only did Al enjoy the whole process of developing the loft, but also good friends Gary Whitebread, Doug Harms, DeVoe Manning, and many others in the Rock River Valley Pigeon Club and Corn County Combine, of which he was a member. He will be fondly remembered by Jerry Sellers and the Lee County Senior Bowlers.
Throughout his life, Allan never met a stranger. He was always outgoing and offered up his opinion on many things (whether you wanted it or not!). Al loved his country and hoped that the younger generations would appreciate the hard work and sacrifices of all those who came before them. He will be missed. The family is grateful to Al’s devoted caregiver, Deborah White, Rev. Peg Williams, Dr. Joseph Welty, and the staff of Rock River Hospice and Home, who enabled him to live his final months in peace and comfort.
Allan has donated his body to the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois for medical research.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday April 27, 2019 at the 11:00 AM at the Jones Funeral Home in Dixon with the Rev. Peg Williams and the Rev. Wes Hills co-officiating. Visitation will be from 10:00 AM till the time of service on Saturday. Memorials may be directed to the Lee County Extension Foundation and the Rock River Valley Pigeon Club. Condolences may be sent online at thejonesfh.com.