SPARLAND - George E. Shimp, 91, of rural Sparland passed away unexpectedly on Thursday morning, March 27, 2014, at UnityPoint Health-Proctor in Peoria.
He was born on Nov. 7, 1922, in Steuben Township, rural Sparland, to Edward C. and Edith E. (Stewart) Shimp. He married his wife of nearly 64 years, Mary Jean Yost, on May 30, 1950, at St. Edward's Catholic Church in Chillicothe. She survives
Also surviving are his daughter, Kathy (Joe) Brown of Warrensburg, Ill.; his son, Ted (Rebecca) of rural Sparland; four grandchildren, Laurey Brown of Wheeling, Ill., Nathan Brown of Evanston, Ill., Robert Shimp of Boston, Mass., and Thomas Shimp of Sparland; and his faithful border collie, Molly.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, June F. Fox.
George attended Turnbull Grade School and graduated from Dunlap High School in 1940. He played the bass horn in the school band and also participated in the high school's basketball team.
He was a lifelong farmer and loved, dearly, the land on which he lived. George farmed with his father until his dad's death in 1954, and had farmed with his son, Ted, since the mid 1970's. He was a strong conservationist and for many years was the owner and chief operator of Shimp Earthmoving, having constructed many farm ponds and miles of terraces in the local and surrounding areas.
He served on numerous committees and received many awards, including the Governor's Award won with his father for "Save Your Soil for Illinois" in 1953 and "Illinois Farm Family of the Year" in the mid 70s.
He was a member and past president of the former Sparland Lion's Club and a past officer in the Illinois Land Improvement Contractors Association of the Marshall County Farm Bureau.
He was an avid fisherman, having enjoyed many trips to Canada and spending time at the family cottage on Lower Kaubashine Lake in Hazelhurst, Wis. He especially enjoyed his four grandchildren, keeping up with and supporting their various activities. He was a devoted basketball fan, having been a member of the Bradley Braves and Chiefs Clubs for many years. He was also an enthusiast of University of Illinois and Notre Dame football. George was a faithful man, full of life, charm and enthusiasm, and was a witty and passionate storyteller. He will be greatly missed.
He was a member of St. Edward's Catholic Church in Chillicothe, where a Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, with Fr. Keith Walder officiating. Burial will be in Chillicothe City Cemetery. Visitation will be on Monday, March 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Weber-Hurd Funeral Home in Chillicothe, with recitation of the rosary at 4:30 p.m. Visitation will also be one hour prior to the funeral service at St. Edward's Church.
Memorials may be made to St. Edward's Church, Ark Animal Shelter and St. Jude Midwest Affiliate.