James Brennan, a really great guy, died Tuesday, November 17, 2020, at St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Illinois at age 84. He was born in Streator, Illinois, on April 5, 1936, to Elmer and Katherine Brennan.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Marjorie, and recently by his daughter, Mary Lisa.
Jim married Diana (Ruhl) on August 2, 1958, in Eagle Grove, Iowa. She survives. Also surviving are two daughters and one son; Suzanne Taylor, Katy (Jeff) Taylor, Jim (Renay) Brennan, grandchildren; Katie Marie Jacobs, Allyson Taylor, and Jeff Taylor, great grandchildren; Gavin Jacobs and Liam Taylor, and his sister Marjorie Kenny's children; Christine (Jim), Dan (Kate) and Carolyn (Jim).
Jim lived his entire life in Streator with the exception of the three years he lived in Kewanee. He belonged to Immaculate Conception Church and currently to St. Michael's Parish. He graduated from St. Mary's Grade School and Streator High School and then from St. Ambrose College in Davenport, IA. He received his Master’s Degree from Bradley University in Peoria. Later in life he received a real estate license and sold houses in and around Streator for a few years.
Jim taught for three years in Kewanee, Illinois, for three years at Woodland, and spent the rest of his career at Streator High School. He also taught evening classes for a couple of years at IVCC. He loved teaching, the students, and his friendships with the other teachers.
Jim was active throughout his life and was devoted to his family. He attended every event his children were in from little league baseball, dance recitals, basketball games, plays and musicals at Engle Lane, swim meets, speech contests and later to college plays and musicals. He took his family on many camping trips across the country and to Canada as well as the many trips he and Diana took together. Jim and his friend Ray Poling had an insulation business, sold kerosene heaters and kerosene on weekends and along the way flipped several houses. Jim was fearless in his endeavors. After retirement, he and his wife, Diana read an advertisement in the newspaper about a couple in Bath Maine who taught Timber Framing classes. They looked at each other and said, "Let's do it!" From there they embarked on a train to Bath, Maine , with their son, Jim Jr., and daughter, Katy, on two different occasions to take classes. They returned home and built a Timber Frame from the ground up, doing every bit of the work except the foundation and the heating and cooling.
Jim was a happy man. His faith was important to him and it formed and inspired him. He walked with God every day. He touched so many lives and leaves the world a better place than when he arrived. He was gifted in so many ways and he gave of himself to everyone. We will forever miss him and look forward to joining him one day.
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