Jon Roger Hardenbergh, 66, of Dubuque, died Sunday, May 7, 2017, at Unity Point Finley Hospital, from complications from Friedreich’s Ataxia, a rare, progressive neurological disease. A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 11 at Egelhof., Siegert & Casper Westview Funeral Home and Crematory, 2659 JFK Rd, Dubuque. Friends may greet the family from 1 p.m. until the time of service.
Per his wishes, Jon donated his body to the University of Iowa. He is believed to be the oldest living person with this disease, outliving doctor’s projection by over 40 years.
Jon was born on June 9, 1950, son of Roger and Harriet Mae (Livingstone) Hardenbergh. He was raised and lived most of his life in Manchester, Michigan. Since the age of 12, he spent most of his life in a wheelchair and was confronted with ever growing and complicated physical challenges. He graduated from Manchester High School in 1968 and became a professional photographer for his hometown newspaper, the Manchester Enterprise. Jon was dedicated to his charming hometown and was a vibrant part of the community, taking thousands of photographs of sporting events, village celebrations, and recording the daily life of a small town. He loved everything Michigan, including the Detroit Tigers, Lions, and Redwings.
Jon and his mother, Mae, moved to Dubuque in 1993 to be near his sister Gretchen Wimsatt and her husband Peter. Availability to better healthcare and a specially built accessible home and van let Jon live a full and active life in Dubuque. All of this was possible because of the deep love and unconditional commitment to him from his family.
Jon regularly attended Dubuque Symphony Orchestra performances and other citywide arts events, movies, and area sporting events. Mae would drive him all over Dubuque County, picnicking in all the parks. He took many road trips to Michigan and across the country, including traveling to Hawaii, Scotland, Peru, England, and Ireland with the help of family and friends.
Jon never let his physical challenges get in the way of living a happy and fulfilling life. To him, everything was possible. He was a bright, witty man who easily made friends. He was adept at using his modified computer and all of the other technology necessary to his daily life. He was a feisty, interesting character who told humorous, albeit embellished, stories of his life. His mantra and philosophy of life was “Rock and Roll!”
He is survived by his brother in law, Peter Wimsatt; his uncle David (Reta) Livingstone; and numerous cousins.
Jon was preceded in death by his parents, Roger and Harriet Mae; and sister Gretchen Wimsatt.
Memorials may be directed to Sunnycrest Manor, 2375 Roosevelt, Dubuque, IA 52001.
To leave an online condolence, please visit egelhofsiegertcasper.com