MENDOTA – James H. Gard, 87, of Mendota passed away Nov. 8, 2022 at Heritage Health with his loving family by his side.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, Nov. 14 at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Mendota. Rev. Jeff Windy will officiate and burial will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery with full Military Rites by V.F.W. Post #4079. Visitation will be Sunday, Nov. 13 from 2-5 p.m. at Wasmer Funeral Home in Mendota.
Jim was born June 12, 1935 in Springfield, to Donald and Jeanette (Armstrong) Gard. He graduated Athens High School in 1953. Jim served in the United States Army in Korea during peace time. On June 25, 1960, he married the love of his life, Betty Ann Lootens at St. Mary's Parish, West Chicago.
Jim will be forever missed by his wife Betty Ann of Mendota; two sons, John (Linda) Gard of Oglesby and Brian Gard of Mendota; daughter Patricia (Kyle) Kim of Mendota; six grandchildren, John Gard Jr., Christopher Gard, Nathaniel Kim, Allyson Kim, Allen Gard and Gabrielle Gard; sister Elynor Kay (Ray) Nance of Athens; sister-in-law Elaine Gard of Stevens Point, Wis.; and brother-in-law Charles Lindsey of Middleton.
He is preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, his twin Julia Weisman, and Margaret Lindsey, brother George Gard, and brother-in-law Dan Weisman.
Jim worked for GTE for more than 42 years, retiring in December of 1995. He was a member of Local Union #51, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I.B.E.W.). He was very involved in his church and community. He was an adult member of the Boy Scouts of America since 1970 serving 10 years as Cubmaster of Pack 4102, two years as District Chairperson, seven years as District Commissioner, 18 years as Family Friends of Scouting Chairperson, and many years as Member at Large on the District Committee. Wood Badge trained, he served as Coach-Counselor on Wood Badge Course EC369W. In 1979, the district honored Jim with the "Award of "Merit," and in 1984 the W.D. Boyce Council honored him with the "Silver Beaver" award.
He was a team manager for the Mendota Little League Dodgers for 10 years. Jim served the Kiwanis Club since 1980, holding President, Secretary and chairperson of many different committees. In the Illinois Kiwanis, he was Eastern Iowa District of Kiwanis International as Division 24 Lt. Governor in 1990 and 2001, holding several positions on several committees. Jim also served Kiwanis International as "Kiwanis International Certified Trainer.”
He was a member of Holy Cross Church, serving as a member of the Holy Cross Parish Council, Holy Cross School Commission, and Holy Cross Athletic Commission as Treasurer for two years. Jim also served the Parish Liturgy Commission as "Distributor of Eucharist" and "Home Communion.” He was a member of the Catholic War Veteran's #1229, Knights of Columbus, and the Mendota Elks Lodge #1212 where he was honored with the Elk of the Year award in 2001-2002. For several years Jim also volunteered as an "Illinois Valley United Way" fundraiser.
Jim and Betty Ann loved to travel, and Jim photographed all their spectacular trips. Annually the Christmas card would be a photo of a barn Jim had taken on his travels. Everyone at any extracurricular activity of his kids and grandkids could spot Jim as he always had a Nikon around his neck and a video recorder handy.
Memorials may be directed to I-I District Kiwanis "Spastic Paralysis Research Foundation," 111 S. Second St., Suite 202, DeKalb, IL 60115; W.D. Boyce Council, Boy Scouts of America 614 N.E. Madison Ave., Peoria, IL 61603; or Holy Cross School.
Condolences may be left at wasmerfuneralhome.com.