|Marvin D. "Sonny" Essex, age 79 of Galesburg, passed away peacefully at 1:10 PM, Monday, June 17, 2013 at home surrounded by his family.
He was born July 3, 1933, in Galesburg, the son of Marvin O. and Maxine (Jones) Essex. He was raised in London Mills and graduated from Valley High School in 1951, where he excelled at football and basketball.
He served in Battery "A" 75th Field Artillery Battalion in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict from May 1953 to March 1955. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, United Nations Service Medal and Korean Service Ribbon.
Shortly after returning from active duty, he married Helen E. Nesbit on May 1, 1955, in London Mills. They had two daughters, Lorraine (Bill) Stone of Galesburg and Michele Peacock of Schaumburg. Also surviving are five grandchildren, Jeremy Peacock, Craig Stone, Krystie Stone, Amber Peacock and Shawna Peacock; one step granddaughter, Denise Stone; one great-grandson, Cameron; two sisters, Maureen (Larry) Braden of Mapleton and Mryna (Merritt) Johnson of Wataga; and four nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant sister and one nephew.
He was a member of the Knoxville United Methodist Church.
He worked on the Burlington Northern Railroad as a brakeman/conductor for 39 1/2 years, retiring in 1996. After retiring, he spent many winters in Mission, Texas.
Sonny played fast pitch softball as pitcher for several leagues in the Galesburg area during the 1960s and 1970s. After retiring from this sport, Marv took up the game of golf playing many rounds at Laurel Greens Golf Course. He was a member of the Saturday Morning League at Laurel Greens.
His hobbies included fishing and restoring antique cars. His pride and joy was the restoration of a 1950 Ford convertible winning many awards including Best of Show in 2012 the VFW Car Show. He was a member of the Western Illinois Auto Club.
Cremation was accorded. Visitation will be 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM Friday, June 21, 2013, at Hurd-Hendricks Funeral Home in Knoxville. A Celebration of Life Service will be at 2:30 PM, Saturday, June 22, 2013 at Hurd-Hendricks Funeral Home, Knoxville, with military rites by the Ralph M. Noble American Legion Post #235, followed by a luncheon at the Knoxville United Methodist Church. Rev. Dan Lybarger will officiate. Memorial donations may be made to the Guardian Angels or a charity of the donor's choice. Online condolences and sympathy cards may be sent through www.hurd-hendricksfuneralhome.com