Jerome "Romie" T. Esser
Annawan - Jerome "Romie" T. Esser, 85, of Annawan, passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 5, 2021, at his home. Cremation rites have been accorded and no services will be held per his wishes. Vandemore Funeral Homes & Crematory – Atkinson Chapel is assisting with the arrangements. Online condolences may be left at www.vandemorefuneralhome.com.
Jerome was born on May 2, 1936, the son of William and Anna (VerCruse) Esser, in Arpin, WI. He attended a one room schoolhouse in the Annawan area. From a very young age, he helped his father and brothers farm and raise livestock at the round barn (now known as Ryan's Round Barn) and the surrounding land, which is now part of Johnson Sauk Trail State Recreation Area. In his early years he owned and flew a small airplane with his brother William. Romie and his brother, William, also owned and operated Esser Bros. Trucking. He was a member of the Army National Guard for six years where he was a cook and a mess sergeant.
He married Rita Ann Tunney on August 1, 1964. She proceeded him in death on August 16, 2009. They bought a farm in rural Annawan where they raised their family of seven. Romie and Rita enjoyed their annual trips to the western states to purchase feeder cattle for their farm. Romie continued to farm for over 50 years. He was a trustee for Annawan Township for many years and was a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. After retiring in 1999, he continued to keep active helping with the planting and harvesting on his land. For several years, he worked for the Case International Harvester's Test Engineering Department testing prototype farm equipment. He helped restore the 1936 Case RC tractor that his father used to farm the land at the round barn. He had fun driving the restored tractor in the Naperville Labor Day and Memorial Day parades. Romie enjoyed canning a variety of fruits and vegetables with his friends and family, including his special spaghetti sauce. He was known for his delicious pies. He liked traveling to visit family and friends, and enjoyed being surrounded by his family and watching his nine grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren grow.
Those left to cherish his memory include his children, Marc (Paula) Esser, Glasford, IL, Kim (Rick) Wolf, Annawan, IL, Lynne (Steve) Fetzer, Quincy, IL, SuAnn (Chris) Forthaus, Naperville, IL, Rita (Joseph) Esser Smith, Homosassa, FL, Terry (Chalon) Esser, Trivoli, IL; grandchildren, Matthew Esser, Luke Esser, Josh (Elyse) Wolf, Andrea (Jason) Hasbrook, Steven (Ali) Fetzer, Stephanie (Torry) Gannon, Robert Fetzer, Roman Forthaus, and Madison Forthaus; great-grandchildren, Jackson, Jase, and Jameson Wolf, Harper, Hayes, and Hunter Hasbrook, Mason, Beckham, and Landon Fetzer, and Elsie Lynne Gannon; siblings, William Esser, Rock Island, IL, and Shirley Gustafson, Galva, IL.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Anna; his loving wife, Rita; son Jerome "Romie" Edward Esser; and brother, Ronald Esser.
The family would like to thank the staff at OSF Hospice for their wonderful care-especially Nurse Rita Saltsman.
Posted online on August 09, 2021