PEORIA - James "Jim" Matthew Voelker, age 52, passed away peacefully Tuesday morning, June 4, 2013, at his home in Peoria, Ill., surrounded by his family.
He was born Feb. 1, 1961, in Peoria to William and Marian (Barbour) Voelker. On Sept. 29, 1983, he married his high school sweetheart, Kelly (Sharpe) Voelker.
He is survived by his wife, Kelly; his children, James (Nicole) Voelker of Metamora, Ill., and Nicholas, Theodore, Mary, Lilianne and Daniel Voelker, all of Peoria; his grandchildren, Jocelyn and Adrian Voelker of Metamora, Ill.; his nephew, William (Lori) Sharpe of Peoria, whom he thought of as a son, and their children, Lucy and William Sharpe; his brother, William (Kathey) Voelker of Champaign, Ill.; his brother, Stephen (Jenice) Voelker of Hazelhurst, Wis.; his brother, Robert (Patricia) Voelker of Lincoln, Neb.; his sister, Mary (Dr. Patrick) Welle of Fargo, N.D.; his nephew, Daniel (Julie) Voelker of Winnetka, Ill.; and many other beloved nieces and nephews.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Daniel and Mark Voelker.
Jim graduated from Peoria High School in 1979, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1983 and the University of Iowa's College of Law in 1986.
Jim spent his career as an attorney at Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen. He joined the firm upon graduation from law school and became a partner with the firm in 1996. He was highly respected and liked by his colleagues and peers.
He had a very entrepreneurial spirit, dating back to the successful ice cream van business he operated in college. His most recent venture was developing and marketing dictation software.
Jim first met his wife, Kelly, in kindergarten. Even as a kindergartner, Jim used to follow Kelly home after school. She was, quite literally, the love of his life.
His highest priority was his family. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. His children and grandchildren were his greatest pride. Jim had a wonderful sense of humor and was dearly loved by many. He enjoyed traveling to Door County, Wis., with his family; home improvement projects, most recently, the addition of a beautiful great room; photography, he took countless photos of his family over the years; and biking, especially in Door County. Jim was also a coffee connoisseur. The Voelker home is equipped with a full-service espresso bar.
Jim battled brain cancer for the past two years. He fought valiantly and was an amazing example of strength and courage.
A funeral for Jim will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 8, at The Wilton Mortuary. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 7, at The Wilton Mortuary. Burial will be in Springdale Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Mark Linder Walk for the Mind.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.thewiltonmortuary.com.