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Obituaries » James R. Peel

James R. Peel

January 22, 1947 - May 27, 2018

Service Date: May 31, 2018

James R. Peel, 71, of Fairview Heights, Illinois, born Wednesday, January 22, 1947, in East Saint Louis, IL, died Sunday, May 27, 2018 at his best friend’s Debbie’s house in Fairview Heights, IL after a lengthy struggle with emphysema.

Jim attended Bluff View Grade School, Clark Junior High School, and East St. Louis Senior High School, all in East St. Louis School District 189. In high school, he was a member of the marching, concert, and pep bands. He graduated from East St. Louis Senior High School in June 1964. He attended Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, the Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois, from which he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English in June 1968 and a Master of Arts Degree in English, concentrating in English Linguistics, in June 1971.

Jim taught Language Arts at Lansdowne Junior High School in East St. Louis briefly. He also was a substitute teacher in Collinsville, Cahokia, and East St. Louis in the early 1970’s. Then he was employed by the U.S. Treasury Department, United States Customs Service, from 1972 through 1997. He worked as a Customs Inspector in New York City, and as a Customs Inspector and Senior Customs Inspector in Chicago and in St. Louis. He also worked as a Customs Supervisory Entry Officer in Chicago and St. Louis. He retired in 1997 from the Customs Service.

He was preceded in death by his:

  • Parents: Stanley and Earlene (nee Starnes) Peel

He is survived solely by his:

  • Brother: Gary E. Peel of Fairview Heights, IL
  • He temporarily leaves behind his beloved cat, Skeeter. He also leaves behind many personal friends in the O’Fallon, Belleville, and Fairview Heights area.

Jim was a devoted sports fan, particularly of the St. Louis Rams and Cardinals, and of college and high school football and basketball. He was an avid reader of fiction novels. He loved classical music. He enjoyed helping others and believed in a powerful spiritual connection between others and himself.

Memorials:  Memorials may be made to the Prospect Park United Methodist Church, Fairview Heights, IL or to the American Lung Association.

Visitation: Visitation from 10:00am to 11:00am Thursday, May 31, 2018 at Kurrus Funeral Home, Belleville, IL.

Funeral: Funeral services will be held on Thursday, at 11:00am at Kurrus Funeral Home with Rev. Karen Oplt officiating. Interment will follow at Valhalla Gardens of Memory, Belleville, Illinois.