Born: June 3, 1936; in Chicago, IL
Died: July 17, 2020; in Aurora, IL
It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Jim Davidson, who peacefully made his way out of this world on July 17, 2020, at his home in Aurora, Illinois.
Jim was born on June 3, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois to parents Robert & Evelyn (Pocock) Davidson. He grew up there and graduated from Amundsen High School in 1954. He was a voracious Cubs and Bears fan. As a boy, it wasn't unusual for his dad to pull him out of school to sneak off to Wrigley Field to catch a game now and then. Seeing his Cubbies win the World Series was a dream come true.
In 1958 he moved to DeKalb to attend NIU and earned a degree in education. He dedicated 20 years of his life to teaching and coaching in the DeKalb School District. He taught at South Junior High (the original Huntley Middle School), North Junior High (the original Clinton Rosette Middle School), and DeKalb High School. Jim was famous for his story-telling in the classroom and was appreciated by his students for his energetic, engaging teaching style. He made learning fun and was fondly referred to as "Mr. D".
One of Jim's greatest passions was coaching. Throughout his career, he coached football, wrestling, and track and was highly regarded by his athletes. On any given Saturday afternoon, when he wasn't on the football field or in the mat room, Jim could be found teaching wrestling moves, playing catch, or orchestrating 50-yard dashes with his daughters. Although the many trips to the state wrestling tournaments and a second-place finish in the state football finals were highlights, his greatest coaching accomplishment was working with athletes of all abilities, helping them to realize their potential.
Jim also played an influential role in the district as a strong union leader. He served as the president of the DeKalb Classroom Teachers Association as well as the lead negotiator for the 1971 teacher's strike, which resulted in changes that revolutionized teaching and learning in DeKalb Schools. All the while, he was able to help establish the DeKalb Park District Girls' Softball League at a time when sports opportunities for girls were minimal. Over the years, Jim's five daughters were members of the league. He was an avid fan of each and every one of them and rarely missed games.
After 20 years of teaching, Jim left the classroom only to enter a new one - law school at Northern Illinois University. He had a long and fulfilling career in private practice serving the DeKalb County communities. During this time, he was a member of several community boards, including Opportunity House and DeKalb Hospice. Jim was also able to continue his teaching career at Kishwaukee College as an instructor in Business Law, where he once again relished his time in the classroom.
Jim had a lifelong curiosity, desire to learn and he loved discussing and debating on a wide range of topics with anyone who would join him! He was known for his unbounded enthusiasm & zest for life. No matter the endeavor, traveling, carving the Thanksgiving turkey, putting up his Christmas village, or working in the garden - Jim was all in. Even at the end of his life, when jigsaw puzzles were his main passion, he did them with gusto.
Jim would agree that "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow!'" - Hunter Thompson.
Jim is survived by Donna Jenkins and her sons Chad Prather and Brad (Jamie) Prather; his girls: Sharon (Ras) Oxnevad, Kathi (Michael) Welter, Pam (Gary) Lothson, Cindy (Mark) Buckner, and Jamie (Joe) Jaques; grandchildren: Andy (Erin), Ben (Atalie), Karli, Anna (Ryan), Max (Natalie), Samantha (Steve), Tyler, Michael (Marisa), Jake, Jim, Abbey, Vanessa, Emily, Allysia, Anthony; 8 great-grandchildren; brothers Robert (Bonnie) Davidson and Don Davidson; sister Sue (Marve) Huizinga; 5 nieces and 5 nephews; special friends: Barbara and Wayne Jenkins, Al and Cathy Meo; and many supportive friends and neighbors.
A memorial fund has been established in Jim's name for the DeKalb Classroom Teachers Association Scholarship for Future Teachers. Donations may be made by mail, checks made out to DCTA, and mailed to DCTA at 901 S. 4th Street, DeKalb, IL 60115.
Jim's family and friends extend a heartfelt thank you to hospice for making his journey from this life a peaceful one.
A private celebration of life will take place with Jim's family & close friends due to the current pandemic.
Published in Daily-Chronicle on Sep. 12, 2020.