Age 91 of Morris, Illinois, passed away Thursday, September 2, 2021 at Lightways Hospice Home in Joliet, Illinois. Born November 21, 1929 in Manito Township, Illinois, James Leslie was a son of George and Della (Burton) O’Hara. He was raised in Manito and graduated from Forest City High School with the Class of 1947. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture from the University of Illinois in 1951, and later went on to serve on the AG Alumni Board. On June 23, 1953, Jim married Ruth Froehlich in St. Benedict, Iowa, and together they made a home and raised a family together.
Throughout the years, Jim resided in Iowa and Illinois, most recently settling in Morris, Illinois in 1978. He taught High School Agriculture for 9 years before gaining employment with the Farmer’s Home Administration, from where he retired in 1992 following more than 30 years of faithful service. After his retirement, Jim went on to be a Real Estate Agent for several years. He served as a Boy Scout Leader, when his children were young; belonged Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Morris; was a life member of the Knights of Columbus; served on the Red Cross Board of Directors and was proud to have donated 29 gallons of blood, and volunteered with Morris Hospital for 22 years. Jim enjoyed being a St. Louis Cardinals fan among a sea of Chicago Cubs fans in Morris, and loved Fighting Illini sports. One who loved the outdoors, Jim took great pleasure in gardening, playing Bridge and was a tremendous world traveler.
Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Ruth O’Hara; seven children; Gerald (Linda) O’Hara of Yakima, WA, Daniel O’Hara of Santa Monica, CA, LaVonne (Michael) Dunetts of Loveland, CO, Patrick O’Hara of Grand Canyon, AZ, Catherine O’Hara (Warren High) of Cincinnati, OH, Brenda (Kevin Brown) O’Hara of Eustis, FL and Christine (Maria) O’Brien of Loveland, OH; (10) grandchildren: Daniel J. O’Hara of Tavares, FL, Nigel Dunetts of Denver, CO, Emilio Ruiz of Urbana, IL, Nathaniel Ruiz of San Juan, PR, Rachael Dunetts of Omaha, NE, Benjamin Kaiser of Cincinnati, OH, Anna Kaiser of Durham, NC, Christopher Ruiz and Alejandro Ruiz, both of Urbana, IL and Fergus O’Brien of Loveland, OH; one great granddaughter, Sophia Ruiz-Finkel of San Juan, PR and numerous brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents; step-father, J.V. Sunderland; six siblings and his daughter, Marilyn O’Hara.
The family will celebrate a private family Mass of Christian Burial at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Morris, Illinois. Reverend Jason Stone will preside. Jim will be laid to rest in Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery in Morris.
Those wishing to participate in the services virtually are welcome to join the live stream on Monday morning, September 6, 2021 beginning at 10:00 a.m. (CST) A link for the event will be available on Jim’s memorial page, as well as cast on the Immaculate Conception Facebook page.
Preferred memorials may be made as gifts in Jim’s memory to: Immaculate Conception School, 505 E. North St., Morris, IL 60450 or to Special Olympics of Illinois, 605 E. Willow St., Normal, IL 61761.
Family and friends are encouraged to sign the guest book, upload photographs and share Jim’s memorial page online through social media by logging onto: www.ReevesFuneral.com/obituary/James-OHara
Funeral services and arrangements have been made under the direction and care of Reeves Funeral homes, Ltd. in Morris. (815-942-2500)