Henry Melvin “Hank” Mihelcic of Belleville died on Sunday, February 23, 2020, at 9:32 a.m. at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in Saint Louis, Missouri. He was born on June 17, 1931, in Mt. Olive.
Henry retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after a total of 25 years of service in the United States Air Force. He was a veteran of the Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam conflict. He enlisted in the USAF following graduation from Mt. Olive Community High School in 1949. He served as a Morse code radio intercept operator during the Korean War.
Following discharge in 1952, he was employed as a telegrapher and depot agent with the Illinois Central Railroad. In 1955, he entered the Aviation Cadet program and in 1957 was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Regular Air Force. Most of his subsequent service was as a navigator/bombardier in B-36 and B-52 aircraft of the Strategic Air Command.
From 1976 until retirement in 1995, he worked as a real estate broker with Century AG Realty, O’Fallon, and in 1980-81 as an underground coal miner with Monterey Coal Company in Albers, IL. In 1986, he suffered a massive heart attack and ended up receiving a heart transplant at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.
On April 18, 1960, he married Darlene Nelson at Beale AFB, California. A very happy 57 years of marriage followed. She preceded him in death on June 8, 2017.
His son, Steven, preceded him in death on June 8, 2008. He was also preceded in death by his parents, Matt and Mary Gorsich Mihelcic; brothers, William and Donald Mihelcic; and sister, Margaret “Dolly” Steinhauser.
He is survived by two sons, David (Virginia) Mihelcic of Ashburn, Virginia and Peter Mihelcic of Fairview Heights; daughter-in-law, Tina Mihelcic of Washington, Missouri; brother, John (Lois) Mihelcic of Mt. Olive; sisters, Bernadine Burg of Auburn, Gloria (Ronald) Ruppe of Sullivan, Missouri, and Catherine Rhodes of Eagerville; grandchildren, Virginia Butler, Ezekiel Mihelcic, Julia Mihelcic, Samuel Mihelcic, of Ashburn, Virginia, and Matthew Henry Mihelcic of Eureka, Missouri; and two great-grandchildren, Ella Virginia and Vera Darlene Butler.
Visitation services will be held on Saturday, February 29, 2020, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Becker & Son Funeral Home, Mt. Olive. A funeral mass will follow at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday at St. John Paul II Catholic Church, Mt. Olive with Father Thomas Hagstrom. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery, Mt. Olive.
Lunch for family and friends will be held in St. John Paul II Parish Hall served by the Altar and Rosary Society.Memorials are suggested to Calvary Cemetery. Becker & Son Funeral Home, Mt. Olive is in charge of arrangements.