ROANOKE – Henry Earl “Hank” Bisco, 93, died Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, at the Apostolic Christian Home of Roanoke.
He was born Jan. 26, 1925, in East Peoria, the son of Arthur and Nellie Twiggs Bisco. He married Jane Evalyn Herbst on Nov. 13, 1948, at the First Methodist Church in Peoria. She died June 7, 2004.
Survivors include two sons, Howard (Nancy) Bisco, Washington and Hugh (Gladys) Bisco, Sycamore; two daughters, Jan (Jim) Werner, Bordentown, N.J., and Joan (Brian) Haney, Lawrence, Kan.; five grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; one stepgranddaughter and four stepgreat-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Arthur “Artie” Bisco and Lewis Bisco, and five sisters, Florence Bisco, Agnes Gaba, Martha “Martie” Godar, Cora Struebing and Elsie Cook.
Hank served in the Army during World War II in the European Theater of Operations. Unfortunately, he was taken prisoner by the Germans on Sept. 18, 1944 then was joyfully liberated on April 29, 1945. Hank was a member of the Army Reserves for several years and served during the Korean conflict at Camp Carson near Colorado Springs, Colo. He was a tool designer and a tool design checker with Caterpillar for 37 years before he retired in 1983. After retirement, he worked part-time as a tool designer at TQ Tool Design in Morton. Hank was a member of the Roanoke United Methodist Church, Roanoke, where he served as a delegate at the annual conference, was involved with the UM Men and the church board, Roanoke American Legion Post No. 463, the American Ex-Prisoners of War (POW), the Heart of Illinois Chapter, where he held the post of treasurer, Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the Caterpillar Retirees Club. As one of the few remaining WWII veterans and POWs, he was part of an Honor Flight in 2015, where his eldest son, accompanied him to Washington, D.C. Hank designed and built the house on Smith Street in Roanoke where he and his wife raised their family. He enjoyed woodworking, traveling, bowling, reading, new technology, music, dancing and drawing, always having a pen or pencil available in his shirt pocket to draw for any child at any time. The couple visited family, friends, and sites in almost all the 50 states, in addition to traveling to Europe, Canada and the Caribbean. From vacations to mundane family moments, he delighted in composing movies and photographs that created memories of life. For many years, Hank bowled in various leagues at Maple Lane in Roanoke, as well as Caterpillar tournaments. He once nearly bowled a 300, leaving only one pin standing in the final frame. Although Hank was hearing impaired his entire adult life, he appreciated religious hymns, classical music, musicals and big band songs, where he reveled in ballroom dancing with his treasured life partner and wife. Never shying away from new technology, Hank received a cochlear implant in his 70s, which allowed him to reconnect with his family and friends, as well as a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure at the age of 88 to give his heart valve a boost. Computer technology delighted him. He knew his way around the keyboard, which allowed him to write his memoir, learn about history and religion from online courses, text to communicate and read his iBooks. Hank offered his services to many organizations over the years. For many years, he served on the Roanoke Township zoning and planning board. As a member of the local SHHH (Self-Help for the Hard of Hearing) chapter, he wrote their newsletter and maintained their database. Hank was an adult member of the Boys Scouts of America and volunteered for over 20 years. In Roanoke, he served on the committees for Pack 71 and Troop 71. He also served in many roles for the District Committee of the Firebird and Wotamalo Districts. Hank was a member of the Order of the Arrow, received the District Award of Merit and was awarded the Silver Beaver Award, which is scouting’s highest award for its volunteers at the Council level. He was a true gentleman, always putting God, family and country before himself. Hank was a shining example of the Greatest Generation. We will always carry your memory in our hearts.
Services will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the church with the Rev. Charlie Graul and the Rev. Robert Herath officiating. Visitation will take place Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Knapp-Johnson-Harris Funeral Home, Roanoke, and Sunday afternoon from 1:30 to 2 p.m. at the church. Burial will follow the service in Roanoke Township Cemetery in Roanoke, where military rites will be conducted by Post 463.
Memorials may be made to the church, Boy Scouts of America or the Greater Peoria Honor Flight.