Prominent Rantoul war veteran passes away
Another prominent area World War II veteran who was held as a prisoner of war has passed away, the second to do so in as many days.
Ninety-four year-old Tony Bilek of Rantoul died on Monday at his home. Bilek was captured by the Japanese and survived the Bataan Death March. He wrote a book on his war experiences. He served in the Air Force for 20 years and retired as a master sergeant. Bilek and his wife operated a greenhouse business and raised flowers in Rantoul for more than 40 years.
Visitation for Tony Bilek will be held Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Baier Family Funeral Services in Paxton. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the funeral home.
Another World War II veteran, 88 year-old Harold "Sparky" Songer of Danville, died early Sunday.
Songer also served in the Korean conflict and Vietnam War and was taken as a prisoner of war in World War II. He played a key role in efforts to build several war memorials in Danville and in the creation of the Vermilion County War Museum.
Visitation for Harold "Sparky" Songer will be held Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Pape Family Funeral Home in Danville. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the same location.