Tribute to first honorary president of Gateway Club

The first Honorary President of the Gateway Club in Banbridge has passed away in the United States.

Gerald Richard “Jerry” Hanlon, 79, of Peoria, originally of the Kickapoo area, died on Thursday, October 10.

Jerry was born in Rosefield Township at the Hanlon homestead south of Kickapoo on December 28, 1933. He was the seventh of eight children born to Herbert Isaac and Emma Katherine (Kirchgessner) Hanlon.

He is survived by his wife, the former Joyce Marie Ochs, with whom he was united in marriage on April 27, 1957 in Peoria.

He is also survived by three sons, Rodger, Donald and Robert Hanlon. one grandson, Colin Hanlon, and two granddaughters, Sarah and Kaylah Hanlon: two brothers, and one sister.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers and two sisters.

He was a four-year veteran of the US Air Force, serving honourably from 1953 to 1957. He worked for 20 years with Equifax Services and 15 years with Caterpillar Inc., where he retired in 1994.

He was also a professional musician and country music singing artist for over 50 years, performing at international level in Ireland, Denmark, and Sweden.

For 25 years, he operated Jerry Hanlon’s Midwest Playboys Country Music Showband in his native Midwest United States.

During his musical life, he recorded some 16 collections of Irish and American Country Music as well as Country Gospel Music.

He had appearances at the famed Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and also operated the Nashville Connection Recording Studio in Peoria for 20 years prior to 
his death.

Having led an exemplary musical life, Jerry leaves a legion of fans and friends both in the United States, Ireland, and Scandinavia.

He especially loved his appearances in Ireland and Northern Ireland and his many friends there.

At Jerry’s request, private services and burial were held at St Patrick’s Cemetery in Kickapoo Illinois.

Memorials may be made to St Patrick’s Cemetery at Kickapoo for upkeep of the Hanlon/Mulvaney Grottoor the Gateway Centre in Banbridge, of which he was the first honorary President.

Condolences and memorials may be directed to the Jerry Hanlon Memorial Fund, PO Box 1264, Peoria, IL. 61654.

Northern Ireland memorials may be directed to Jerry Hanlon Gateway Centre Memorial Fund, 4 Areema Heights, Banbridge.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Wright and Salmon Mortuary in Peoria, IL, where online condolences are encouraged and will be appreciated.

An online obituary where condolences may be left at