James W. Wituk

By on September 15, 2011

James W. Wituk, 59, of Elburn, passed away peacefully surrounded by the love and prayers of his family at his home Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011.

He was born Jan. 5, 1952, in Sycamore, the son of Wassil and Katherine (Zehetner) Wituk.

Jim grew up on the family farm on Route 38 across from the Elburn Forest Preserve in Elburn, where he attended local schools. Jim graduated from Kaneland High School with the class of 1971.

Jim was united in marriage to Patty Chidester shortly after high school and welcomed home two children, Kelly and Jim. They made their home in Elburn for a time before they parted ways in 1979.

He was lucky in love a second time when he met Lilija Adomenas-Van Reenan by the bonfire at Jim’s sister’s Halloween Party in 2000. He asked Lili if she wanted to go on a hay ride, and instead of jumping on the back of a hay rack, she joined him in the truck that pulled the rack instead. He drove away with her heart that night, and the friendship that was born that night turned into a deep and profound relationship where each soul recognized its counterpoint in the other.

The following year, Jim and Lili began making memories of their own in their present home in Campton Hills.

His work ethic was forged on the farm, but after it was sold during his high school years, Jim busied his hands as a mechanic, working first at Harms Chevrolet, now Bob Jass in Elburn. After Harms, Jim found work at various dealerships but dedicated his time and hands to Reber and Foley, on Main Street in St. Charles for almost 20 years.

Jim’s hands were strong and sure, just like his spirit, second only to his mind. He was extremely creative and instinctual, which when mixed with courage and resolute determination, enabled him to persevere to attain his goals. This may be why his vocation was the same as his passion. Jim worked in the shop during the day and continued this passion once he was home, restoring classic cars and trucks whose glory days were long lost.

His resume includes a 1963 Chevy Impala SS, a 1969 Chevy Pick-Up, and most recently a work-in-progress 1952 Chevy Pick-Up. His collection of model cars and trucks were first proudly displayed in his garage, but soon overflowed into his home, much to Lili’s chagrin.

Jim didn’t stop at restoring however. He enjoyed truck pulls and in his younger years could be found at the Oswego Drag Strip, ripping up the track a quarter mile at a time. Jim’s love also extended to nature and the great outdoors. Exhaust fumes and the roar of the engine were replaced with the quiet solitude that brought a peace like no other. In fact, Jim helped to rejuvenate an entire orchard in the woods of Michigan. It was Jim’s easy going nature and lovable personality that won him friends in many walks of life, but that was nothing compared to the relationships he built with his step-daughter, Audra, and his grandkids. In each relationship, Jim found something special and unique, creating a connection that was theirs and theirs alone.

He is survived by his father, Wassil of Batavia; his soul mate, Lili of Elburn; two children, Kelly Mills and her children, Tyler and Kailey, of Collinsville, Va., and Jim (Kelly) Wituk and their children, Luke, Jack and Ben, all of Maple Park; one step-daughter, Audra (Gerson Contreras-Lule) Adomenas-Van Reenan and their son, Lukas, of Chicago; seven siblings, Helmut (Carole) Wituk, Mark (Cathy) Wituk, Judy (Jim) Woods, Fran (John) Joyner, Kathy McIlnay, Betty Wituk and Heidi (Joe) Jakubaitis; many nieces, nephews and a family of friends.

He is preceded in death by his mother; one nephew, Randy Joyner; and one granddaughter, Keyonna Mills.

Visitation will be Thursday, Sept. 15, from 3 to 8 p.m., with Rosary to begin at 4 p.m. and a wake service to conclude visitation at 8 p.m., at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. Following cremation, a memorial Mass will be held at St. Gall Catholic Church in Elburn on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 10:30 a.m. Fr. Karl Ganss, pastor of the church, will officiate, with private family interment to occur at a later date. Prior to Mass, the family has opened an invitation to take part in a special procession. Those wishing to follow the family with his urn past his home are welcome to line up at the funeral home at 9:30 a.m.