Cover photo for James Pruyne's Obituary
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James Pruyne

April 26, 1929 — May 20, 2019

James Pruyne

Jim Pruyne died May 20th, about four weeks after his 90th birthday. His parents were Frances Woolard and Howard Pruyne of Ponca City, OK. His brother and sister-in-law, Samuel and Dorothea Pruyne, are deceased. Jim married his college best friend, Gwen Burris, 64 years ago. She survives. Their daughter is Becky (Masamichi) Yamamoto and adult grandchildren are Jessica and Jeffrey Yamamoto. Their son is James Christopher (Melissa) Pruyne and grandson Nathan James Pruyne. A service to celebrate Jim's life is planned for June 15 at First Presbyterian Church of Normal at 11:00 am.

"Big Jim" was big physically, intellectually and spiritually. He was ordained Presbyterian and his ministry included The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), The United Church of Christ, Church of the Brethren. Interfaith and persons with no religious belief. Jim was the founding pastor of New Covenant Community, an open and affirming congregation. The Jim and Gwen Pruyne Lectureship in Progressive Christianity was created in their honor.

Jim participated in countless committees in the church, the university and the community. In recognition of his services he received the Normal Citizen of the Year award, the Martin Luther King, Jr. award, and the Park College Alumni Community Service award.

In the early 1960's Jim became the first director of the United Campus Christian Foundation. For over 40 years he was the Campus Minister at Illinois State University. He was well known by the students, faculty, administration and staff. Jim planned many optional opportunities for students. Alumni long remember the Spring Break work-study trips, especially the 1963 trip to Savanna, GA, to register African Americans to vote. They also mention community involvement in volunteer social service activities like the creation of a 24/7 telephone help program that became PATH. Jim looked to the future, always thinking about what more the church, the university and the community could do.

Jim had many interests and abilities. Among them are civil rights, systemic justice, city planning, architecture, ecology, global warming, politics, traveling, playing the piano, playing bridge, hosting dinner parties, cooking, an avid reader of fiction, especially mystery stories, and news magazines

Jim was an extraordinary person. His life was a great uplifting gift of love to untold thousands of lives.

Celebration Of Life

JUN 15. 11:00 AM (CDT)

First Presbyterian Church
2000 E. College Ave.
Normal, IL 61761

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James W. "Jim" Pruyne, please visit our floral store.

To send flowers to the family in memory of James Pruyne, please visit our flower store.

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