James R. Clerken, age 90, a resident of Wheaton, IL, died Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, at The Meadows in Glen Ellyn, IL. He was born Sept. 22, 1923 in Chicago, IL. He is survived by three children, John (Cathy), Claudia Baker, and Janice (Victor) Toft; three grandchildren, Tara Singh, Jodi (Tony) Weber, and John (Roxanne) Baker; and two great-grandchildren, Stella and Scarlett Baker and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death (1997) by his wife of 49 years, Dorothy Margaret, nee Mally; his brother, Jack (Marge); and his sisters, Marian (Ralph) Ott and Lucille (Tom) Ellis. Jim attended St. Mel High School in Chicago, IL. A WWII
veteran, Staff Sergeant Jim Clerken served his country as a 15th Air Force tail gunner on the B-24J Liberator flying out of Italy. Honors earned included Silver Service Star, 5 Bronze Stars
, Air Medal. Upon discharge Jim returned to Chicago where he met the love of his life. He and Dorothy married in 1948 and in 1959 moved to Wheaton to raise their 3 children. Jim worked for Chicago Glazier's Union Local 27 for 40 years. Jim was a life member in the Int'l Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades. His specialty as a glazier and architectural metal tradesman is represented in many Chicago Landmarks including the John Hancock and Brunswick buildings. Jim enjoyed card games and golf. Jim never had a bad day on the golf course especially if the game was with his son, John, daughter Janice, son in law, Vic, and grandson John Baker. His achievement of a hole in one during a family Door County vacation was celebrated with ice cream at Wilson's in Ephraim. He made new and lasting friendships with the Arrowhead group of Jack, Phil and Ron. Their weekly games often finished up at Portillos for lunch and a milkshake. He was a lifelong sports fan of all Chicago teams and Purdue football and basketball. For the last decade Jim especially enjoyed wintering in Arizona with his daughters and son in law. The memories of busy days ending with peaceful nights watching the sun set over Black Mountain will last a lifetime. John and Cathy, his son and daughter-in-law often came for long weekends from nearby Las Vegas. Family time equaled Quality time for Jim. As a Grandfather, he exemplified devotion, kindness and patience. He was unconditionally loving and supportive. His grandchildren remember him with a deep reverence and will always cherish his joyful laughter. Services were held at St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheaton, IL Interment was at Assumption Cemetery in Wheaton, IL. Charitable Donations can be made in memory of James R. Clerken to either the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, or to The Foothills Caring Corps. For more info call Hultgren Funeral Home at 630-668-0027.