James A. Polley


MENDOTA – James A. Polley, 91, of Mendota, passed away peacefully in the afternoon of Nov. 29, 2022, surrounded by family who loved him.

Visitation will be held Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, from 10-11 a.m. with Memorial service to follow at 11 a.m. at Mendota Bible Church, 4131 N. State Hwy 251, Mendota. Merritt Funeral Home in Mendota is assisting the family.

James was born Jimmie Alva on Sept. 23, 1931, in Atlanta, Ill., to Bertha and Alva Polley. He was the youngest of 4 surviving children.

He is survived by his wife Jean of 62 years; five children, David (Janis Miller) of Dexter, Mich., Nancy (Jeff) Brown of Leland, Ann (Darren) Hackler of Smyrna, Tenn., Daniel of Chicago, and Ben (Cassidy Randall) of Missoula, Mont.; seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.   

He attended the University of Illinois-Urbana where he studied business management and joined the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. Midway through his studies he was drafted in the army to Korea where he served for two years in peacetime efforts. He earned the rank of Sergeant. Upon his return, he met Jean LeMay (née King) and eventually returned to school and finished his business degree at Illinois State University in Normal.

Not long after his graduation, he took a management position with Spurgeon’s retail chain, which was their reason for eventually moving to Mendota. In June of 1960, Jim and Jean were married and started a family.

Jim worked for Spurgeon’s for 15 years, moving from Illinois to Iowa and eventually to Mendota, where he and Jean truly created a home and raised their family. In 1975, Jim decided to venture off on his own by opening his own retail store in Mendota called the Round Up with Levi’s. Seeing greater horizons in Princeton, he moved the store there in 1978. Shortly thereafter, his youngest was born. With five children at home, it was time to take on another job with Fantasy Flavors in Amboy. He worked there for 20 years, working his way up to purchasing agent for the ice cream flavors factory. He took retirement early in 1995, but realized that he wasn’t quite ready and returned to work at Boise Cascade for another four years. During his retirement, he returned to graduate school to receive a degree in Christian counseling for which he was very proud.

To know Jim was to love him. Jim was a loving husband and a dedicated father. He delighted in the pursuits and adventures of his children. He was a devoted pet owner, especially his dogs, having loved each one of them as extensions of the family. He had a ribald sense of humor, cracking jokes and laughing up to the very end. His laugh was contagious. He was smart, fun, thoughtful, and athletic. He enjoined life and loved God and taught that devotion to his children. Jim and Jean have been devout members of the Mendota Bible Church for 50+ years.

Dad, we love and miss you very much.

In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make donations to the Glaucoma Foundation, the Mendota Area Senior Services, OSF Saint Paul Medical Center or the Mendota Bible Church.

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