PEORIA - James A. Maloof, 93, of Peoria passed away at 10:53 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at his residence.
Jim was born Oct. 18, 1919, in Peoria to Nimer and Sarah (Zyne) Maloof. He married Gertrude ""Trudy"" Burson on June 28, 1941, in Peoria. She preceded him in death on March 29, 2001.
He was also preceded in death by his parents; older brothers, Abraham, Mitchell and Fredrick Maloof; and son, Mark.
He is survived by his sons, J. Michael (Margaret) Maloof and Nicholas (Olga) Maloof; daughter, Janice Maloof; grandchildren, Peter Thomas Maloof, Sarah Maloof, Lisa Maloof Hall, Christian Maloof, Katie Maloof, Ethan Maloof, Lydia Maloof, Nick J. Maloof, Micheline Maloof and Markie-Marie Maloof; great-grandchildren, Coralie Hall, Iona Hall, Aidan Maloof, Erin Maloof and Meghan Maloof; and bonus grandchildren, Stephanie Maloof Britton and Cassie Maloof Salazar.
Jim served in the Air Force during World War II as Acting Master Sergeant. When he was discharged, he returned to the family dry cleaning business where he served as president of Maloof Cleaners from 1946 to 1968. In 1969, he started Jim Maloof/ Realtor, which quickly became one of the foremost residential real estate firms in the Peoria area.
An avid athlete, he played in the Sunday Morning Baseball League for years. He enjoyed all sports, particularly baseball, golf and fishing. Jim served various volunteer activities throughout his life, but he became best known for his singing. He sang at hundreds of weddings and funerals. He sang with the Peoria Orpheus Club for 22 years and led the Annual Journal Star Christmas Sing at the Peoria Courthouse for four decades.
Jim's crowning achievement was his participation in St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. In 1958, Jim was appointed to the first ALSAC/St. Jude Board of Directors. He continued to serve until now. In 1960, Jim initiated the first St. Jude Teen March which was quickly embraced by communities all across America. He created a new precedent in fundraising when he asked: "When you see the teen with the giant button at your door, give a dollar!"
To bring continuity to the overall fundraising efforts in Central Illinois for St. Jude, in 1978, Jim enlisted the support of WEEK TV and Bergners Department Stores, to co-sponsor and pay for the first St. Jude Telethon in Peoria. Jim was instrumental in creating other major fundraisers for St. Jude including the annual Memphis to Peoria Run. Under the watchful guise of its co-creator Mike McCoy, the St. Jude Runs have become one of the most prolific fundraising events in the nation.
Jim Maloof's vision, relentless dedication, tireless drive and incomparable leadership contributed immeasurably to the success of ALSAC/St. Jude and made the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate the success it is today. Jim has served as Chairman of the Board of the Midwest Affiliate since its inception. He held and/or attended thousands of St. Jude benefits locally and nationally, representing St. Jude and raising monies in over 35 States throughout America.
Against this backdrop, Jim Maloof on Thanksgiving Day in 1984, decided to run for Mayor. Jim's campaign theme, which became the platform of his administration, was called "Forward Peoria!" Forward Peoria included committees of citizens working on various community issues and challenges. This concept not only served as a good campaign theme, but it resulted in timeless improvements in the quality of life in Peoria. Peoria was named an All American City by 1989 and again in 1993. Jim was re-elected twice, in 1989 and again in 1993, serving three terms and 12 years total.
After retiring as Mayor, Governor Jim Edgar appointed Jim to the State of Illinois Human Rights Commission. Governor George Ryan appointed him to a second term.
Funeral Mass will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception. The Most Reverend Bishop Daniel Jenky and Msgr. Stanley Deptula will officiate. Visitation will be from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, at Riverside Community Church, 207 NE Monroe, Peoria. A celebration of life will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. also at Riverside Community Church. An additional visitation will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday preceding the Mass at the cathedral.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Midwest Affiliate, 4722 N. Sheridan Road, Peoria, IL 61602; and/ or Peoria Dream Center, 714 Hamilton Blvd., Peoria, IL 61603, in memory of Jim Maloof.
If you wish to send flowers, please send them to the Cathedral of St. Mary of Immaculate Conception.
Tributes and condolences may be submitted to www.wrightandsalmon.com and/ or iamjimmaloof.com.