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James M. Johnson 92, of Sycamore, IL. passed away Monday, February 5, 2024, at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb surrounded by his loving family. Jim was born January 23, 1932, in DeKalb, IL. the son and only living child of Morgan & Lillie Johnson.
Jim graduated from Maple Park High School in 1949. He was drafted into the Army serving during the Korean War from 1955-1957 and was honorably discharged as a “Corporal”. He returned home to his passion for Farming with his father. His livelihood also included raising pure-bred Duroc pigs, Heifer cattle and chickens. He was proud of achieving grand champion status by showing at the Illinois State Fair with his pigs. Jim also raised, trained, and loved his horse “Golden Dan”. One of Jim’s favorite memories was the honor of riding his beloved Stallion in the Maple Park Centennial parade as the Grand Marshal. Agriculture was at his core in farming both corn and soybeans while partnering with the DeKalb Ag as both a farm operator and a detasseling equipment operator. After an introduction from fellow farmer and future brother-in-law Edward Lothson, he met and married Lois Vesta on June 3rd, 1961, at First Lutheran Church in DeKalb. Lois was Jim’s “Honey Bunny" and the true love of his life for over 62+ years. Jim and Lois began to grow their family a few years later raising four children, Diana, Julie, Karen, and Bradley.
First Lutheran Church was Jim’s home for worship from the young age of four years old. Jim’s faith and belief in God were central to his heart. While a member of First Lutheran, Jim sang in the Church Choir, served as Usher, and was also a member of the Church Council.
In 1986 Jim transitioned his career, due to health reasons, and joined the Richard Buick Chrysler Team in St. Charles where sales and success were plentiful. Through these years, Jim continued to manage the Johnson Family Farm as landlord to various tenant farmers. Jim continued to stay close to what fulfilled his life passions as a young boy with his father.
Retirement was earned in 2002 so he could focus on being the wonderful “Papa” to his Grandchildren and spending quality time with his “Honey Bunny”. This provided Jim a blessed life as a grateful man sharing his faith, hope, and love with all whom he touched and everyone becoming his friend.
James is survived by his wife Lois, children Diana Vonderheide (Terry), Julie Karolus (Adam), Karen Hoyle (Greg), DeKalb, IL., Bradley Johnson, Evansville, IN., Grandchildren Jordan Wellman, Jessica Wellman, DeKalb, IL., Morgan Karolus, Virginia Beach, VA., Allison Karolus, Dixon, IL., Matthew Hoyle (Tori), Peoria, IL., Connor Hoyle (Stephanie Rodriguez) Redmond, WA., Caden and Emery Johnson, St. Charles, IL., Elissa Vonderheide, DeKalb, IL., Justin Vonderheide, Tioga, ND., four beautiful Great Grandchildren Mackenzie Carter, Monroe Center, IL., Ryker Vonderheide, Tioga, ND., Noah Hoyle, Peoria, IL., and Scarlett Dockery, DeKalb, IL.
James was preceded in death by his Parents Morgan and Lillie Johnson, a sister at infancy, and brothers-in-law Vernon, Ellwood, Elmer, Ken, and Gene Vesta. Sisters-In-Law, Norma Thorpe, and Doris Carlson, along with many Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins who were like his brothers.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 11:00 AM at First Lutheran Church, 324 N. 3rd Street, DeKalb, IL. with the Memorial Service immediately following at noon, Rev. Dr. Janet Hunt officiating. Interment of James will be following the Service at Fairview Park Cemetery. Jim had a special request for all who can attend in honoring his life to wear colorful attire to this special day of celebration. Jim loved color.
For family and friends that are unable to attend in person the service will be live streamed at 12:00 PM. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3Kap_BP03k
Our family would like to sincerely Thank the following: Dr. Dhaval Thakkar, Jim’s long-time Primary Care Physician, Dr. Jagdish Patel, Dr. Manam, Dr. Rehal, Dr. Shakeel Ahmad, and Dr. Asad Shah along with the numerous Nurses, Patient Care Technicians, Respiratory Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Palliative Care Team who provided excellent medical care. Additionally, we would like to thank the dedicated team at Oak Crest for their compassionate support over these past few months.
Our additional gratitude to Barry Melton of Anderson Funeral Home for the loving care provided with Dad’s life celebration.
In place of flowers, there are two Memorial Funds that will be established honoring James M. Johnson's legacy. DeKalb County Farm Bureau Foundation supporting the future of young farmers and/or First Lutheran Church in honor of Jim being a lifelong member of First Lutheran Church where his heart will always be remembered.
Arrangements were entrusted to: Anderson Funeral Home where you can send online condolences: www.andersonfuneralhomeltd.com