Stephen F. Layden was born on June 20, 1949 in Danville Il to Bernice Brickner and Thomas Layden. He had a rich childhood on a Hoopeston farm with his 6 siblings. He is survived by his siblings, his mother-in-law Wini Thomas, 2 children Matt (Vivi) and Abbie (Ryan, Justin), 5 grandchildren: Raenen, Ollie, Taddy, Ave’ Pettit and Yelka Layden. He also had very special bonds to his 52 first cousins, his beloved 15 nieces and nephews, and 23 great nieces and nephews.
The smartest decision he ever made was to marry his high school sweetheart Kathy Thomas. He loved her his whole life.
He was a legendary basketball player and all-around athlete in Rossville, followed by DACC, and ISU.
He was a successful entrepreneur in the siding/window business, and enjoyed farming part time w his dad and cousins.
Steve was adventurous and loved to travel with his wife and children. He loved going on cruises, exploring other countries, and spending time at their Florida home.
But the best part of his life began when he became Papa to his grandchildren. He and ‘Jammie’ made breakfasts for the grands before driving them to school. They had weekly sleepovers, Saturdays at Steak n Shake, followed by hikes in Kickapoo. Not missing a ball game, track meet, or music concert was their norm. Papa taught all the grandkids how to water and snow ski, snorkel and scuba, and to drive golf carts, mowers, and boats. These years were full of laughter and play.
Steve was a curious, eager life-long learner. In the last years, he took classes in photography, sculpture, piano, and yoga. He especially loved spending time with his dear friend Susan Ennis.
A celebration of life will take place lakeside at 23 Ayrshire Court in Oakwood at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 3. Coffee and danish at 10am.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Boys and Girls Club in Danville. Online condolences: www.rortvedtfuneralservices.com.
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