James "Jim" Michael Gecan, Sr., of La Grange, IL passed away on January 19, 2021 at 82 years old. Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 41 years, Mary Ann Gecan (née Klaczak); his adored children Ron (Mara), Mary (Travis) Burge, James Jr. (Kristin), and Michael (Tawny); and ten cherished grandchildren: Luke, Gianna, and Elena Gecan; Nathaniel, Noah, and Aurelia Burge; Emmett and Joseph Gecan; and Grace and Claire Gecan. Jim was preceded in death by his father Frank Gecan, Sr., mother Frances (née Dorich), sisters Mary (Howard, deceased) Palya, Dorothy (Dick, deceased) Remus, Kay (Norm, deceased) Miller, his brother Frank Jr. (Jackie, deceased) Gecan, and grandparents: Ignatius and Mary Getson, Gasper and Mary Dorich. Jim is a graduate of Lockport Township High School and Loyola University Chicago and served in the U.S. Army (1962–1963). He worked for more than 20 years in the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors. In his spare time he was baseball coach, Boy Scout treasurer, Sunday driver, storyteller, birdhouse maker, full-time home renovator, plumber, bricklayer, electrician, woodworker, landscaper, carpenter, and jack of all trades. There was nothing he couldn't do if he "put his mind to it." He was a humble man, full of integrity, purpose, and goodwill, and proud of his Croatian heritage, family, grandkids, and home. A lifelong student and teacher, he always had a book nearby and ready to impart a word of wisdom. He filled your heart with his trademark wink, smile, "Jim Gecan story," and big bear hug. He will greatly be missed and never forgotten, our hero, and now our angel. Until we meet again Pops...and oh, "Don't take any wooden nickels!" Visitation Sunday, January 24, 3–8pm at Hallowell & James Funeral Home, 1025 W. 55th Street, Countryside, IL. Group limit of 10 guests in the chapel at a time. Services Monday, January 25, 11am at St. Francis Xavier Parish, 124 N. Spring Avenue, La Grange, IL. Family and friends to meet at church. Please arrive a few minutes early to check in and be seated. Preregistration required: signupgenius.com/go/409044DAAA72EA2F94-james2
. Unregistered guests will not be permitted into church. Mass will be livestreamed at: facebook.com/SFXParish.LG
. Interment will be held privately at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, IL in Section 19 Grave 1758. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jim's name may be made to the American Stroke Association
(1-800-242-8721). For Funeral Info: 708-352-6500 or HJFunerals.com
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Published by Chicago Tribune on Jan. 24, 2021.