Danvers - James "Jim" Earl Phelps, Jr, 85, of Danvers, formerly of Monticello, IL passed away at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, May 12, 2017 in Rockwall, TX.
His graveside service will be at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017 in Park Lawn Cemetery in Danvers where he will be interred next to his wife of 57 years, Barbara. The family encourages casual dress. Full Military Rites will be accorded. Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home in Bloomington is assisting the family with arrangements.
Memorials may be made to Illinois Cancer Care or American Cancer Society or a charity of the donor's choice.
Jim was born on September 11, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois, a son to James, Sr. and Rose Greeley Phelps. He married Barbara Sigmon on December 19, 1954. She preceded him in death on October 27, 2011.
Surviving are his sons, James S. Phelps of Las Vegas, Randall M. Phelps of Anchorage, AK and William T. Phelps of Maple Grove, MN; daughter, Suzi Royse of City, TX ; seven granddaughters, Melissa, Carissa, Hannah, Kira, Kayla, Krista and Kiana; and two grandsons, Tyler and Will.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Moving at age six to the small, northern Illinois community of Sycamore where he attended schools from first grade through high school. Following high school, Jim attended Grinnell College earning a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Chemistry-Zoology. Next he attended the University of Illinois where he received Bachelor and Doctor of Dental Surgery degrees in 1957.
Jim then received a First Lieutenant's commission in the United States Air Force where he proudly served for twenty years as a dentist, retiring as a Colonel. The Air Force career enabled him to travel extensively in much of the world from Aisla to the Arctic Circle. Subsequently he practiced dentistry in Boulder, CO and Urbana, IL. Jim also provided missionary dental treatment in Jamaica.
He was a member of the American Dental Association. Though his vocation was dentistry, his avocation was aviation having obtained a commercial pilot's license with an added sea plane and instrument ratings. In Alaska, Jim enjoyed wilderness flying and took hunters, fishermen and sightseers to remote areas that could only be reached by airplane. In route to dental meetings and on vacations, he flew his personal plane to every state except Hawaii. He was also a LifeLine pilot, taking emergency patients to surgical centers.
Jim's church was often the great outdoors where he communed with God by contemplating the wonder of His creations in nature and the world. He thought God to be a superior Pastor. Poems by Emily Dickinson's, ‘Some Keep The Sabbath' and Joyce Kilmer's ‘Trees' perfectly reflect Jim's feelings.
1:00 PM (CDT)
Park Lawn Cemetery
Danvers, IL 61732
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