John Burgess “Jack” Hultgren, 88, of Geneva and formerly of Riverside, died Sept. 6, 2012 at Delnor Hospital in Geneva.
Mr. Hultgren was born Sept. 9, 1923 in Chicago, along with his twin sister, Ann Josephine, to Claes L. and Emily (nee Burgess) Hultgren.
He was raised and schooled in Riverside, graduating from Riverside-Brookfield High School in 1942. In his senior year, he met Dorothy “Dottie” Marousek, and they began dating. But World War II interrupted their romance, and Mr. Hultgren enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in December 1942. They were married in February 1945 while Mr. Hultgren returned home on leave.
Mr. Hultgren was a tail gunner who flew 41 bombing missions in the European Theater. He and his bombardier unit were awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme from Gen. Charles DeGaulle in 1944.
He also flew numerous missions in the Pacific Theater until the end of the war. Mr. Hultgren attained the rank of staff sergeant and was awarded several military citations, including the Air Medal. He served with the 439th Bomb Squadron, 319th Group, 42nd Bombardment Wing.
In early August 1945, Mr. Hultgren along with his other crew members witnessed a mushroom cloud hanging in the sky near Nagasaki, Japan. None of the crew had been told of the bombing.
Mr. Hultgren studied at Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., and earned his degree from the University of Illinois in June 1950. After graduating, he and Dottie lived in Riverside until moving to Geneva in 1959.
He worked in industrial sales, and in his later years he was a school bus driver for St. Charles District 303 and Laidlaw.
Mr. Hultgren had many interests and was a skilled woodworker, creating many fine pieces of furniture still in use today.
For many years, he suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and was lovingly cared for by his wife, Dottie.
Mr. Hultgren was preceded in death by his parents, Claes and Emily B. Hultgren; his twin sister, Ann Josephine Kraft Rogers; his son, Jon B. Hultgren Jr.; his in-laws, 1st Lt. Richard G. Rogers, Frank and Erna Marousek and Donald and Doris Marousek.
He is survived by his wife, Dottie; his daughter, Holly; his brother, Claes L. (Carol) Hultgren; his sister-in-law, Nancy M. Moriearty; and his nieces and nephews, Sheila (Steve) Hunter, Bruce Kraft, Kristen Goers, Claudie Dail, Janet (Tom) Schaeffer, Claes L. (Julia) Hultgren III, Barbara Ann Moriearty, Tracey (Mike) Clark and Becky Marousek.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. at the Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva.
Memorial donations are appreciated to the Disabled Veterans of America or St. Jude’s Hospital.