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James W. "Jim" Lear

December 18, 1933 - October 16, 2022

James “Jim” W. Lear, 88 of Springfield, died at 9:12 am, Sunday, October 16, 2022, at Springfield Memorial Hospital surrounded by his family. He was born on December 18, 1933, in Tuscola, the son of Ralph Foster and Hazel (Murphey) Lear. He married and had a beautiful, loving life with Virginia Ellen Reid for forty-three years until her passing on October 29, 2005.

Jim is also preceded in death by his parents, son, Samuel Reid, and brother, Bill Lear.

Survivors include his daughter, Ruth Ellen (Dave) Ficke of Springfield and his granddaughter, Nora Ellen Ficke and several nieces and nephews.

Jim was drafted in 1954 by the US Army during the Korean War serving in Daegu, Pusan, and Ascon City for two years.

He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

He worked for thirty years with the Illinois Department of Public Aid, first in Tuscola and then with the Responsible Relative Program in Springfield, providing children support in the state system. He was proud to be an executive in the development of the Illinois Food Stamps program, overseeing the decision making in related welfare programs. He enjoyed taking early retirement in 1991.

Jim had a passion for engineering and technology, always researching the latest in all thing’s audio visual or automotive. He was an expert in looking at a problem and figuring out how to solve it. He took a class to build his own television and stereo system, endlessly tweaking his electronics for the most perfect sound to enjoy. He also loved good classical and instrumental music, especially the organ.

He enjoyed traveling the US, creating memorable family vacations, as well as watching a good baseball, football, or basketball game no matter the team. He usually rooted for the Bears and was thrilled to see the Cubs win the World Series. He was a true Illini fan, having some treasured football tailgate memories. He kept the door open to root for the Cardinals…..especially for his son in law.

He loved a good Manhattan, steak dinner, and pizza on a Friday night. He was renowned for being a lover of dessert, no matter how full. There was always room.

His biggest delight was watching his granddaughter grow and find her interests. They “spoke the same language” and he was her biggest fan and supporter.

He bravely fought prostate cancer for 22 years, involved in cancer studies and was an inspiration with his attitude, strength, and perseverance.

Jim was a great listener and was your biggest champion.

His quick wit and laughter were always present. He was a man of devout faith, practicing and relying on it in his life. Through all his tough times he always had the glass half full mentality.
He is an example of how to live with grace, kindness, and courage.

Visitation: 9 – 10:30 am, Saturday, October 22, 2022, at Central Baptist Church.

Funeral Service: 10:45 am, Saturday, October 22, 2022, at Central Baptist Church with Pastor Mary Ellen Sharp officiating. Burial will follow at Oak Ridge Cemetery where military honors will be conducted.


Memorial Contributions may be made to Central Baptist Church or the American Cancer Society Association.

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Visitation Information

Date: Saturday, October 22, 2022

Time: 09:00 am - 10:30 am

Service Information

Date: Saturday, October 22, 2022

Time: 10:45 am

Memorial Information

Memorial Contributions may be made to Central Baptist Church or the American Heart Association.

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