Cover photo for Henry J. Close's Obituary
Henry J. Close Profile Photo
1936 Henry 2021

Henry J. Close

March 4, 1936 — May 8, 2021

Henry James (Hank) Close. Born March 4, 1936 in Washington, D.C., Born to Eternal Life May 8, 2021 in Rockford, Illinois.

Survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Mary (nee Dollahan); his children Cary (Steve) Biskupic, Claudia (Ky) Sadlon, Jim (Laura) Close, Anne Manning, Mike (Debbie) Close, Julie (Justin) Bain; his grandchildren Colin and Riley Sadlon, Rheny, Aedan, Brandon and Sean Manning, Ben and Johnny Close, Eldora and Griffin Bain, Hank and Silas Close; his sisters and brother Mary Jane (Charlie) McCarthy, Nancy Lou (Bill) Kelly, Jean (Rudy) Bradac, Jack (Pat) Close, Patricia (John) McKinley, numerous nieces and nephews. He is now reunited with his parents Jim and Jane Close, his sister and brother-in-law Betty Anne and Mike Dwyer, his parents-in-law Claude and Rosemary Dollahan, his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Mike and Sue Dollahan, his nephew Dan McCarthy, and many dear friends.

Family, faith, and friends were the cornerstones of Hank’s life. Hank was born in Washington, D.C., and his family relocated to Wilmette, Illinois when Hank was in grade school. Hank graduated from Quigley Preparatory Seminary in 1954 and then attended Regis College in Denver, Colorado, where he met Mary at a sock hop. After graduating from Regis in 1958, he enrolled at Loyola Law School in Chicago. Hank and Mary were married August 13, 1960. Hank graduated from law school in 1961 and began his career as an attorney for McDonald’s Corporation—joking to his family and friends that he was paid in hamburgers. Hank and Mary moved their family from the North side of Chicago to Rockford in 1963 when Hank accepted an offer with the law firm of Miller, Thomas, Hickey & Collins; he became a named partner in the firm and practiced law in Rockford for more than forty years, retiring from Oliver Close LLC.

Hank and Mary were among the original members of Holy Family Parish, and have been parishioners there for nearly 60 years. Hank was active in the parish, serving as a lector and on any number of committees and boards as the parish developed. Hank and Mary were firm believers in the value of a Catholic education, and all their children attended Holy Family Grade School and Boylan Central Catholic High School. Hank was involved in school activities; he served as president of the PTA, he was always willing to chaperone field trips, and he coached grade school softball, basketball, and baseball teams. He encouraged his kids to participate in high school extra-curricular activities and could be counted on to attend their tennis matches, cross country meets, volleyball, basketball and soccer games. He was a proud and loving father who rejoiced in his childrens’ accomplishments as they grew, he helped all of them attend college, and he warmly welcomed his sons- and daughters-in-law into the family. Hank and Mary’s twelve grandchildren were the delight of his later years. He was keenly interested in them and their activities, he was proud to attend their games and performances when he could, and he loved keeping up with them via phone calls, videos and face-time. The grandkids appreciated his care and interest and loved spending time with “Papa.”

Hank was also active in the community, serving on the Advisory Board of Saint Anthony Medical Center, as the Chairman of the Rockford Metro Centre Authority, on the Board of Directors of the Chicago District Golf Association, and on the board of Carpenter’s Place. Hank and Mary enjoyed spending time with their siblings, particularly vacations and holiday get-togethers. Through Holy Family, Hank and Mary developed an incredible network of friends who were solace for each other in times of trouble and rejoiced together in times of celebration. Hank was a life-long Cubs fan; an avid golfer, he achieved an elusive hole-in-one at Kelly Greens Golf Course in Fort Myers, Florida; he played tennis and was a runner; he was a passionate gardener and was never without a good book. His family and friends will miss him dearly but know that his love and faith have been rewarded.

Walk-through visitation will be Thursday, May 13, 2021 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, 1860 S. Mulford Rd. Rockford, IL 61108. Celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday, May 14, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 4401 Highcrest Rd. Rockford, IL 61107. Those attending services must wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. Cremation rites will be accorded. Final resting place will be in St. Mary/St. James Catholic Cemetery, Rockford, IL.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Henry’s name to Carpenter’s Place, 1149 Railroad Ave. Rockford, IL 61104.

Arrangements entrusted to Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory. Share online memories and condolences at

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, May 13, 2021

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory - Mulford Chapel

1860 South Mulford Road, Rockford, IL 61108

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Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, May 14, 2021

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Holy Family Catholic Church

4401 Highcrest Road, Rockford, IL 61107

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


St. Mary/St. James Catholic Cemetery

917 Auburn Street, Rockford, IL 61103

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