PEORIA - Charles Evan Jett, 84, of Peoria passed away at 8:15 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.
Born on Oct. 8, 1928, in Paducah, Ky., he was the youngest of three children of the late Morton and Susan (Crossland) Jett. He was the loving husband of Shirley (Sutton) Jett for more than 55 years.
Charlie was a 1945 graduate of Tilghman High School and a 1949 graduate of the University of Louisville, in mechanical engineering. He was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and captain of the Louisville track team. He was known for his blazing speed, and he even tried out for the University of Louisville football team, where he caught passes from Johnny Unitas.
Charlie served two years in the United States Marine Corps, before entering the University of Louisville.
In 1952, Charlie went to work for Caterpillar Inc. It was there he met the love of his life, Shirley Pauline Sutton. They married on Feb. 22, 1958.
Charlie's job took them from Peoria to Minnesota, Alabama, Ohio, back to Peoria and out to the state of Washington, eventually retiring in Peoria in 1992. Charlie was extremely proud of his Caterpillar career and maintained close ties with colleagues and friends for the remainder of his life.
Charlie and Shirley built a wonderful life together. They enjoyed traveling and were snow birds in Florida for many years. Charlie's passion was golf. He was an impressive master of the links, winning the 1996 Peoria City Seniors Golf Tournament. Charlie recovered from a massive stroke in 2000 and was back hitting the ball by 2002. He and Shirley were members of Mount Hawley Country Club for many years. While living in Washington, Charlie and Shirley were members of the Sahalee Country Club. A great lover of music, Charlie also was a proud member of the Peoria Barber Shop Chorus. It was not unusual to hear Charlie and Shirley singing together or harmonizing with their youngest daughter, Jennifer, who also shared his love of song. He also was an avid banjo player. He never missed his daily crossword puzzles.
Besides Shirley, he leaves four devoted children, Julie Jett of Hanna City, Ill., Andy and his wife, Ann of Farmington, Conn., Bryan Jett and his wife, Cheryl of St. Pete Beach, Fla., and Jennifer Cunningham and her husband, Tim of Bainbridge Island, Wash. In addition, he leaves to cherish his memory, his grandchildren, Conor, Rory and Brock Cunningham of Bainbridge Island, Wash., and Cameron and Carson Jett of Farmington, Conn. Charlie also leaves to mourn his beloved brother, Edward Jett and his wife, Eleanor of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Besides his parents, Charlie was preceded in death by his sister, Elizabeth (Betty) Morgan of Paducah, Ky.
Charlie will be missed by a host of dear nieces, nephews and friends.
A celebration of Charlie's life will take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, at The Wilton Mortuary, with Chaplain Bill Cordes officiating. A visitation will be one hour prior to the celebration of life at the mortuary on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
Memorial donations may be made to the
, Central Illinois Chapter.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at www.thewiltonmortuary.com.