James (Jim) Corry Ford passed away on April 27th, 2022, at the VA Medical Facility in Tomah, WI. He was born in Chicago, IL on December 18th, 1925. His parents were William Joseph and Bertha Mary Ford.
Jim attended St. John The Baptist Elementary School in Winfield and the West Chicago Community High School for three years. In order to speed up his senior year he attended St. Patrick’s High School in Chicago starting in July 1943 and graduated from there in January 1944.
He joined the Army Air Corps in February 1944. By February 1945 he was flying combat missions over Germany as a gunner on B-17 Bombers with the 379th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force. On March 24th, 1945, he was on his 17th combat mission when his aircraft was shot down by anti-aircraft fire near Hopsten, Germany. He was held as a POW until April 17th when he was liberated by allied forces crossing Germany. After being liberated he was hospitalized in England and the United States because of injuries he sustained when shot down. He was honorably discharged, in February 1946, as a Sergeant who received a Purple Heart, Air Medal, POW Medal, and Good Conduct Medal.
In the fall of 1945 he met Kathryn Jane Stott from Forest Park, IL. They started dating in December 1945 which culminated in their marriage on July 6th, 1946. Their marriage lasted almost 60 years, when Kathryn passed away on June 21st, 2006. Kay was a good wife and good mother. Together they had two children, Michael James who was born on February 19th, 1954 and Barbara Suzanne who was born on December 4th, 1962.
After their marriage Jim and Kay moved to Houston, Texas where he attended the University of Houston under the GI Bill. He received his Bachelor’s of Business Management Degree in 1949.
In the fall of 1949 they returned to Forest Park, IL. Over the years they moved around a few times until moving into their new home in Winfield, IL. The very neighborhood Jim spent most of his life. While living in Winfield he was active in the community. He served as a Village Board Trustee for two terms. In the final nine months of his first term he also served as active President of the Village. He also served as the Village Treasurer for fourteen years. In total, he served in Village offices for twenty-two years. In addition to his Village activities he also served thirteen years as a trustee for the Winfield Fire Protection Department.
Jim’s primary employment years were from 1950 to 1995. In 1950, he took a job as an Insurance Agent with Metlife Insurance Company. In 1955, he went to work for the Pipeline Service Corporation. He worked there as an Accountant and was later appointed as the Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer. In 1972, he became a Community Bank Officer with the St. Charles National Bank in St. Charles, IL. When he retired in 1990 from full time employment, he was the Vice President for the Old Kent Bank in St. Charles. Jim came out of retirement and returned to Old Kent to do some part-time Public Relations and Business Development work for about two years. Shortly after, he became Vice President for the Fox Valley Bank of St. Charles until June 1995.
Starting in 1947, Jim and Kay started visiting the Sparta area to spend time with Kay’s sister and family. They spent many nights at the Moonlight Pavilion in Cataract dancing and playing music with Forest Johnson, Dutch West, Lyle Evans and Bob Storandt. In October 1995, Jim and Kay moved to Sparta, WI. In order to keep busy, Jim took a part-time job as a Courtesy Driver for the Brenengen Autogroup. He worked there for approximately five years.
Jim enjoyed his family and friends. He enjoyed playing golf with Father Mark Walljasper, John Revels and his grandsons; Bill and Travis, horseshoes, and other outdoor activities. He enjoyed dancing with Kay and they both enjoyed playing cards. While living in Winfield he enjoyed playing cribbage at his favorite watering hole, John’s Buffet. In Sparta, he loved going to Leon Country Tavern for lunch and Harris’s Crossing to visit with his good friend; Ray Harris. Both Jim and Kay belonged to several card playing groups. He was a member of the Winfield Sportsmen Tusker Fishing Club for nearly forty years. Over the years he belonged to a number of clubs. For years he was dedicated to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church where he was an usher and volunteer for Summerfest. He was also very close friends with Father Mark Walljasper and Father Jim O’Leary.
His favorite sports clubs were the Chicago Bears, Chicago White Sox and the Green Bay Packers. He saw his first Chicago Bears game in the mid-thirties at Wrigley Field in Chicago, the Bears defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jim is survived by his two children, Michael (Denise) Ford of Sparta, and their sons, Bill (Beth) of Sparta and Travis (Amy) of West Bend; and Barbara (Neil) Boucher and their daughters, Chelsea (Ryan) and Courtney of Carol Stream, IL; his brother, Dick (Sarah) Ford of Minneola, FL; three great grandchildren, and many other nieces and nephews located in other parts of the country.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Bertha; his loving wife, Kathryn; his nephew, Andrew; grandparents, Jimmy (Anne Zimmerman) Ford and Oliver (Catherine Corry) Atkinson; his uncle Bill Shell and aunt Marge Shell; and his uncle Earl Monahan and aunt Marie (Atkinson) Monahan.
Jim and his entire family would like to extend a special thanks to the staff that cared for him during his residence at the VA Medical Center in Tomah, WI. He was treated with honor, dignity and love.
Graveside military honors, provided by VFW Post 2112 and American Legion Post 100 of Sparta, will be held at 1:15 p.m. on Friday, May 6, 2022 in Mt. Hope Cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Friday at Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta. Online condolences may be offered at schanhoferfh.com
Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.