John Alexander

John Alexander

CHAMPAIGN – John "Jack" L. Alexander, 76, passed away at 8:36 a.m. Monday (Jan. 7, 2013) at Champaign-Urbana Regional Rehab Center, Savoy.

Jack was born May, 24, 1936, in a farmhouse in Hensley Township, Champaign County. He was the son of the late Melvin Lewis Alexander and Lois Ehler Alexander. He walked to Mount Vernon country school for grades one through six, then attended and graduated from Champaign junior and senior high schools (Class of 1954).

Jack was a farmer until his final harvest in 1998 and a DeKalb seed corn dealer from 1966 to 1998. He worked for Hicksgas for several years after retirement.

He was a member of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, a past officer of the Holy Name Society, and a member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 4450 of Rantoul. He was the president of the Fisher Fair Association for 14 years and served on the Condit Township Board for 24 years.

He was a volunteer fireman with the Sangamon Valley Fire Department for 41 years. He served on the Fisher Community Unit 1 school board. He was a Sons of AMVETS Post 52 member and a member of the Thomasboro Improvement Association, where he was vice president many years.

Jack was a frequent member of early morning coffee groups at the Road Ranger and in Thomasboro where in his later years he greatly enjoyed the conversation and camaraderie. He liked to "tinker" in his shed fixing things, and enjoyed making furniture and gifts. He was always willing to help others in need.

After he retired, he joined Faith in Action, where he shuttled people and did minor repairs for them. He was an avid reader and liked to fish, hunt, boat and garden. He was known for his one-liners and witticisms.

Jack's greatest joy was being with family and friends. He was very proud of his children and grandchildren.

Jack met his future bride, Deanna Jean Irle, at a softball game at Somer's ball park. They were married on April 4, 1959, in Holy Cross Catholic Church, Champaign; Father Joseph O'Dea officiated.

Survivors include his wife of rural Champaign; four daughters, Gayle (John) Risley of Belvidere, Lisa (Dale) Maxson of Baltimore, Md., Laura (Doug) Hopkins of Byron and Kelli (James) Bolstad of Canton, Miss.; 11 grandchildren, Matt and Brooke Risley, Garret and Blair Maxson, Lauren (Jordan) Martin, Danielle, Ryan, Rachel and Sarah Hopkins and Haley and Chase Bolstad; one great-grandson, Jake Martin; one brother, Richard Alexander and his wife Linda; a sister-in-law, Terry (Donald) Alexander; a brother-in-law, Joseph Irle and his wife Eileen; a stepbrother, Glenn Miller and his wife Mary; a stepsister, Betty Barnes-Gaitros; and many nieces and nephews.

He was also preceded in death by a brother, Donald Alexander; a brother-in-law, James Irle; and stepfather, George Miller.

Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, Thomasboro. Father Bird will officiate. Burial will be in St. Elizabeth's Cemetery.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, Savoy. A rosary will precede the visitation at 3:30.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 2509 S. Neil St., Champaign, IL 61820.