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Harry George Meadows
(04-25-1921 - 04-07-2018)

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Harry George Meadows passed away peacefully at his home in St. Charles, Illinois at the age of 96 on April 7, 2018. By his side were his loving and devoted wife and close family members. He was grateful for having been given a long and productive life to live. His was an indomitable spirit that never stopped trying to do what he thought was best. Mr. Meadows was born at Henrotin Hospital in Chicago on April 25, 1921 to W. R. “Bob” and Edna (Gahagan) Meadows. The Meadows family were life-long Elgin residents. Harry attended St. Laurence grade school, Abbott junior high school, one year at Elgin High School and graduated from Elgin Academy in 1939. He attended Lake Forest College (class of 1944) where he met the love of his life, Ruth Anderson, in his junior year. As World War II was beginning, Harry joined the U.S. Navy and received midshipman officer’s training at Tower Hall in Chicago, Wabash College, and Columbia University. Harry honorably served as the executive officer, Lieutenant Jr. Grade, aboard the Mobile Explosives Investigation Unit ship, YP 421, in the Pacific theater from 1944 to 1946. The leadership qualities that Harry learned while serving in this capacity in the Navy served him well for the rest of his life. He often referred to these life lessons. Harry was the personification of the “Greatest Generation”. Upon returning home from the war, Harry continued a 76 year association with W. R. Meadows, Inc., a family business, started by his father in 1926 at 2 Kimball Street in Elgin, Illinois. Harry was devoted to his father, W. R. “Bob” Meadows, and the values of determination and hard work that he learned from his parents. When his father passed away at a relatively young age, Harry realized that his calling in life was to preserve the family manufacturing business started by his father and to keep it on a vibrant and healthy path. He took this responsibility seriously and became a strong provider and nurturer for both his personal family and WRM work family. Harry’s community and church also benefited from his quietly effective presence and generosity. Harry appreciated his good fortunes in life; being blessed with a beautiful and loving family of whom he was so proud. Some of his happiest times were spent in northern Wisconsin, which he called “God’s country”, or in Naples, FL. He was a fan of any mode of transportation; be it automobiles, airplanes, motorboats, or horses. Harry was often told that he had an “honest” face. With his winning smile, friendly charisma, and wonderful sense of humor he easily developed many life-long friendships. He had the uncanny ability to connect with and relate to almost anyone on a personal level. As Chairman of the Board of W. R. Meadows, Inc., Harry’s “open door” policy with customers and employees was a well-known practice. He was highly respected by his peers in the construction industry and cherished by the employees of W. R. Meadows, Inc. with whom he enjoyed many personal relationships; knowing most by first name as well as their family members. He was always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need. During his long life, Harry was recognized by his church by being named a Knight in the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II in 1999 for his service in the Diocese of Rockford. In 1993 Harry was the proud recipient of an honorary Doctor of Business Management Degree from Judson College. In 1984 Lake Forest College presented the Alumni Distinguished Service Citation to Harry in recognition of service to his alma mater, community, and nation. Many students over the years have benefited from the scholarships initiated by Harry. During the 1950’s Harry was a member of Elgin Junior Chamber of Commerce, President of the Elgin Exchange Club, and elected to the Board of Directors of the Elgin National Bank. Harry twice served as President of the Concrete Joint Institute. For his service during WWII, Harry was awarded the American Theater Ribbon, the WWII Victory Ribbon, a Philippine Liberation Star and 3 Stars for Service in the Asiatic-Pacific theater. Harry’s ship, the YP421, received a Presidential Unit Citation while he was the executive officer. As patriarch of the family business for 60 years, Harry shepherded the family business from a local Chicagoland business to an international source for quality concrete construction products that has grown and prospered through the company’s values of Quality, Service, and Integrity. The company is now in its 93rd year with its third and fourth generation of family at the helm. Harry is survived by his most faithful supporter and unconditionally loving wife of 71 years, Ruth, and his three daughters: Merrie Derderian, Ann (Jim) Dwyer, and Martha Connell. He was a proud grandfather to Matthew (Dana) Price, Timothy (Rebecca) Price, Catherine Connell (Tim) Kocher, Dr. Jennifer Dwyer, George Connell III, Elizabeth Connell, and William Connell. He is also survived by five great grandchildren: Kaylyn Price, Dylan Price, Hunter Price, John Kocher, and Mary Margaret Kocher. In addition to his parents, Harry is pre-deceased by his beloved brother, Dr. W. R. Meadows, Jr. Visitation will be held at Laird Funeral Home, 310 South State St., Elgin, Il on Friday, April 13, from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 845 West Main Street, West Dundee, IL at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday April 14, 2018 with visitation for one hour before Mass. A private burial service with full military honors at Mount Hope Cemetery in Elgin will immediately follow Mass. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church or to Little Sisters of the Poor. For information 847-741-8800 or www.lairdfamilyfuneralservices.com. 

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