Date of Birth
Date of Death
William J. "Jim" Spear, 81, of St. Charles, passed away at Central DuPage Hospital, surrounded by the love and prayers of his family on Sunday, September 5, 2010. BORN: He was born on April 13, 1929, the son of Dr. William M. and Elsie (Doak) Spear in Iowa City, IA. EARLY YEARS:Jim grew up in Oakdale where his father was the superintendant of the State Tuberculosis Sanitarium. He attended local schools and graduated high school. EDUCATION: Jim continued to further his education at University of Iowa and Iowa State University where he received a double B.A. in Botany and Landscape Architecture. Later Jim was invited to attend Harvard University but instead chose a new wife, became focused on his career and never looked back. MARRIAGE: Jim met his wife Margaret "Peggy" Nelson through family friends in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Their love joined two nations when they were united in marriage on June 20, 1953 in Peggy’s hometown of Hamilton. They began their new life together in Chicago, IL where Jim found a job with one of the prominent golf course architects of the time. RESIDENTIAL HISTORY: Several years later, the family moved to St. Charles, IL where he established his own, soon to be prestigious, firm and welcomed home a daughter, Mari in 1962.OCCUPATION / WORK HISTORY:Jim was the longest serving appointed member of the City of St. Charles Planning Commission whose term spanned over forty years. It was a position of which he was immensely proud and his landmarks, including the redesign of the rose garden at The Baker Hotel, portions of the Bike Path, several subdivisions including the Fox Mill Community, Potawatomi Park, the sculpture park at Mount St. Mary’s Park, and several top ten golf courses all still stand today as a testament to his passion and vision. Of those accomplishments, none were more personal than his renovation of the Railway Express building into a work of his own creation now known as The Warehouse which won the first ever Image Award presented by The City of St. Charles. It is now home to several family businesses as well as other office space. No matter where you look, Jim’s influence and imagination can be seen and the time Jim spent volunteering for the City of St. Charles is endless and the results of those hours are timeless. MEMBERSHIPS: He was a proud member of American Society of Landscape Architects and the American Society of Golf Course Architects of which Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicholas are fellow members. LIFE NOTES: Jim’s work ethic was second to none, a fact that everyone recognized. No matter how hard he worked, family was one of the most important things in his life. The time he spent with them driving to art shows, pond and garden walks were priceless. He also loved to go antiquing and spent countless hours refinishing "special finds" many of which found their way into his daughters home. Every year as a Father’s Day tradition, the family went to the annual antique car show in Oakbrook to appreciate the fluid beauty of classic automotive engineering. Jim also loved to go shopping, not only for himself, but most especially for others, his favorite being his daughter. It wasn’t just grand visions that came from the mind of the master, his brilliance found its home in the yard of his daughter, capturing every season with picture perfect beauty. SURVIVORS: He is survived by his wife Peggy, His daughter, Mari (Spear) Wittum of St. Charles, A son-in-law who he always cherished like a son, and Mari’s husband, Alec Wittum; Several nieces and countless admirers of his passion put on display across the country.PRECEDED:He was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother. VISITATION / FUNERAL Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m., Thursday, September 9, 2010 at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. Funeral services and interment will be private. MEMORIAL In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit his favorite charities, one of which is Suicide Prevention Services, where his daughter is Director of Clinical Services. Checks may be made to the "Jim Spear Memorial" or "Suicide Prevention Services" and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m., Thursday, September 9, 2010 at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. Funeral services and interment will be private.
Private family committal service