James Winningham

James Winningham

ARTHUR — James L. Winningham (Jim), 87, was ushered into heaven by his best friend and savior, Jesus Christ, on Wednesday (Oct. 31, 2018) at the home of his daughter and son-in-law. He was surrounded by his loving and devoted family. They are rejoicing that he is healed and reunited with his mother, Helen Ballentine, and father, Jesse Winningham, who was killed in a car accident when Jim was 2 1/2 years old.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, at Shrader Funeral Home, Arthur. The celebration of life service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, at Reclaimed Food and Spirits, 125 N. CR 425 East, Arcola, IL 61910. 

Jim was born in a two-room hospital in Fayette, Mo., on Jan. 17, 1931, the son of Jesse and Helen Winningham. He married the love of his life, Janet Jurgens, in Arthur on Aug. 21, 1958.

Survivors include his wife, Janet; a son, Rick Winningham (Gale) of Hillsborough, Calif.; a daughter, Rhonda Aikman (Mike) of Arthur; seven grandchildren, James Aikman (Kelsey), Rachel McDonald (Andrew), Andrew Aikman (Kortnee), Kyle Winningham (Allie), Joseph Winningham, Robert Aikman (Ericka) and Grace Winningham; six great-grandchildren, Adabelle McDonald, Asa Aikman, Averick McDonald, Arleigh McDonald, Charles Winningham and Benaiah Aikman; and one sister, Betty Onstott.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Helen and Jesse; in-laws, Ervin and Dorothy Jurgens; and brother-in-law, Bill Onstott.

Jim grew up in Glasgow, Mo., a river town on the Missouri River, and worked many interesting jobs beginning at the age of 8. He helped deliver milk, swept out the pool hall, worked as a shoeshine boy, worked on a dredge boat, worked as a “gandy dancer” on the railroad and worked for the Corps of Engineers. He played basketball for Glasgow High School and loved the game for years.

He attended Central Methodist College but was drafted in 1952 and served as a forward observer in Korea until 1954. He went back to college and graduated in 1955. He moved to California where he worked in the aerospace industry and met his wife, Janet. They were married in Arthur on Aug. 21, 1958, and this past August celebrated their 60th anniversary. They lived in the Los Angeles area until they moved back to Arthur in 1960. He completed a number of graduate banking and investment programs at Southern Illinois University, University of Oklahoma and University of Wisconsin. In 2015, Jim, along with his son-in-law, Mike, traveled to Washington, D.C., as part of the Honor Flight Program, which recognizes veterans for their service to the country. He was deeply impacted by this trip.

Jim began working for the State Bank of Arthur in 1960, a job he would hold for 57 years. He was very active in banking and in his beloved community of Arthur. He believed he had the responsibility, as a community banker, to help the community prosper, for businesses to flourish and for area employment to grow. He was past president of the Arthur Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Arthur Centennial Celebration, past president of the CBAI, past member of ECIDC, past board member of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Foundation Board, Arthur Rotary member and was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow, recipient of the Honorary Alumni Award from the Arthur Alumni Association and many more too numerous to list. He was very proud to be from Arthur. When asked where he was from, he said, “Arthur, Illinois. Have you been there?”

Jim loved Jesus and adored his family. He took great comfort in the Bible and in the words of our Lord and prayed daily. The Bible was his most important book, but he was a voracious reader of all books until macular degeneration damaged his sight. Then, undeterred, he began listening to audiobooks.

Jim loved his grandchildren and great-grandchildren more than words can express. He was thrilled to be involved with, and hear about, all their activities. He was very proud of every grandchild. Jim loved the St. Louis Cardinals and watched every game. He never knew a stranger and always had a positive attitude about life. When asked how he was, he always said either “fantastic” or “terrific.”

Memorials may be made to S.A.B.L.E. (Saving Animals by Lasting Encounters, a nonprofit entity that helps Aikman Wildlife Adventure with the care and feeding of animals), 125 N. County Road 425 East, Arcola, IL 61910. Jim was their biggest fan!

Online condolences to the family may be sent at hilligossshraderfh.com.

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