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James “Jim” Vest, 76, a lifelong resident of Mahomet, passed away on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at home.
Jim was born August 4, 1942 in Champaign, to Bob and Mary Jane (Lindsey) Vest. He was preceded in death by his parents, his twin brother, Bill, and his infant sister, Carol.
He is survived by his three daughters; Shawna (Dave) Almany of O’Fallon, MO, Cydney (Ronald) Creech of Morrison, CO, and Jamie (David) Hall of Mahomet and his sister, Barbara Gawthorp of Mansfield. Also surviving are his much-loved grandchildren; Jimmy Beck, Jillian Beckett, Drew Hall, Samantha (Bill) Sweatt, Hillary (Dan) Quilico, Kelsey Light, and Corey (Gwen) Light. He was blessed with 5 great-grandchildren; Sutton and Reed Sweatt, Joelle and Heidi Light, and Ada Quilico in addition to 3 step-children and 6 step-grandchildren.
Mr. Vest attended Mahomet schools, graduating from Mahomet-Seymour High School in 1960. He enlisted in the US Army on November 2, 1960 and spent time at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo, Fort Jackson, SC, Fort Gordon, GA, and Fontainebleau, France. He was honorably discharged o October 13, 1962 After returning to Mahomet following his discharge from the Army, he began dating Sherry Hammett. They married May 3, 1963 and divorced 24 years later.
Jim began his employment with Kraft Foods in Champaign one week after he and Sherry married. He retired on April 1, 1999. Upon his retirement, he enjoyed travelling to visit friends and family that lived out of state, as well as spending time with those nearby. He joined the Mahomet American Legion Post 1015 in 1971 and was an active member for many years. He enjoyed Illini sports and was a season football ticketholder for several years. His favorite hobby was stock car racing. Along with his brother, Bill and dad, Bob, Jim and Sherry frequented the dirt race tracks around Central Illinois in the 1960’s and 70’s. Many Friday and Saturday nights were spent at small town dirt tracks in towns such as Farmer City and Fairbury. Summers included the Indianapolis 500 Time Trials, weekend trips to the Illinois State Fair and the DuQuoin State Fair to take in USAC stock car and midget races. Additional jaunts were made to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Texas, among other places, to enjoy races over the years. It was at such a race in 1974 that Jim met and began a lifelong friendship with the Hendren-Rowley Racing Team from Bloomington, Illinois. After his daughter, Shawna, moved to St. Louis, he even became a Cardinals fan and attended quite a few games over the years.
As recent health issues kept him closer to home, Jim could often be found driving through the Lake of the Woods and stopping at a picnic table to “people watch”. He enjoyed sitting on his patio, occasionally with a cold beer, and always welcomed those who stopped to visit with him. Modern technology became his new hobby as he reconnected with many old friends through Facebook and used Facetime to talk to his daughter, granddaughters, and great-grandchildren who live out of state. He was very blessed to have good neighbors during the 50 years he lived. Whether you brought him food, took him for a ride, shoveled his driveway, took out his trash, texted him, “liked” his Facebook post, stopped by to chat or showed your love in another way, Jim appreciated your friendship.
There will be a visitation on Wednesday, Jan. 23 from 5-7 pm at Blair-Owens Funeral Home, 102 E. Dunbar, Mahomet. The funeral service will be on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 11 am at the funeral home with Rev. David Johnson officiating. Burial will be at Grandview Memorial Gardens, Champaign.
Memorial donations to the charity of your choice.