On March 10, 1942, a cheerful, blue-eyed baby boy named James Dean Nurss was born in Peoria, Illinois. As a child Jim loved riding his bike, watching trains, playing basketball, and making others laugh. That never changed. In 1960 he left Peoria to attend North Central College in Naperville, where he met his wife, Sally. They married one week after graduation and remained married-and loved their life together-for almost 58 years. Their children Kristin Johnstone (Stirling, Scotland), Jennifer Nurss-Ullinskey (Kewanee, Illinois) and James Nurss (Chicago, Illinois) remember their dad as someone who was unfailingly patient, kind, smart and funny. He encouraged them to work alongside him, figuring out together how things worked as he fearlessly tackled any home repair from replacing a ceiling to building a deck. Did they want a tree house? sure! He’d build one. Before long, a sturdy fenced-in platform-accessible only by rope ladder-a rose 20 feet up among the branches of the backyard ash trees. On family road trips, his children learned to read maps, handle a vacation budget, pitch a tent, carve boats for mountain streams, and inevitably play “stump the guide” by asking good questions as we toured historic homes and battlefields. His grandchildren Nathaniel Johnstone, and Nelson (partner Alie Daggett), George, Henry and Peter Ullinskey will miss his wisdom and humor, as will his son-in-law Steven Johnstone, who remembers him as a genuine person with no pretensions. Jim received his MBA from Central Michigan University in 1967. He worked as a Distribution Manager for Swift and Company; Derby Foods, makers of Peter Pan Peanut Butter; and Libby McNeil Libby. In later years, Jim was Chief Accountant for the Clerk of the Circuit Court of DuPage County. After retiring in 2008, Jim and Sally moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, where they met many wonderful people and opened Our Town Books on the historic square. Jim’s love of history was reflected in his leadership of Jacksonville’s Historic Preservation Commission during their time there. In recent years, they returned to Naperville and once again became members of First Congregational United Church of Christ, where Jim had been Junior High Youth Fellowship Leader in the 1980s. He was preceded in death by his parents Edwin Dean Nurss and Grace (Thompson) Nurss and his sister Joanne Nurss.
Jim was kind, funny, smart and dearly loved. Donations in Jim’s honor can be made to Youth Outlook (https://youth-outlook.org/), to the Jacksonville Area Museum (http://www.jacksonvilleareamuseum.org/) or to the charity of your choice. Arrangements by Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Homes & Crematory. Info 630-355-0264. www.beidelmankunschfh.com
Published by Naperville Sun on May 8, 2022.