James Stanley Ekstrand, 82, of Winthrop Harbor, IL passed away Saturday, September 7, 2013 at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL. Jim was born September 22, 1930 in Waukegan, IL. He married the love of his life, Shirley Gudmestad, on August 4, 1956 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Waukegan.
Jim is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Shirley Ekstrand; children, Karen (Doug) Spaeth of Kenosha, WI, Eric (Jeanne) Ekstrand of Katy, TX and Thomas Ekstrand of Winthrop Harbor; grandchildren, Andrew (Erin) Spaeth, Emily Spaeth, Christina Spaeth, Jillian Ekstrand, Olivia Ekstrand, Alex Ekstrand, Susan Ekstrand and John Ekstrand; great-grandson, Garik Spaeth; sister-in-law, Janice Purdom of Bear Lake, MI; nieces, Lisa Aeschliman, Julie Kuhn, Tina Shaw; and his beloved cat, Loki. He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry E. and Alma (Anthony) Ekstrand; brother, Roger Henry Ekstrand, and granddaughter, Anne Pace Lee Spaeth.
Jim graduated from Waukegan Township High School in 1948 and received his B.S. degree in 1952 from Lake Forest College, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. After serving in the U.S. Air Force in France and Germany, Jim began his 35-year career as a chemist at Abbott Laboratories, where he met his lovely bride. While photography, science, aviation and foreign languages were his passions, he was equally known for his quirky sense of humor and friendly, talkative nature. He is fondly remembered for his stories and yarns, especially about his Air Force days and childhood visits to the farm of his Uncle Theo and Aunt Irene in Georgia. His family will always cherish the memories of their annual cross-country road trip vacations together, filled with laughter and adventures, in the 1965 Chevy Biscayne station wagon that Jim so meticulously maintained. Most importantly, Jim was a devoted, loving husband and father, passing down the value of lifelong learning to his children and grandchildren, in whom he had great pride.
Jim's family would especially like to thank Dr. Ninad Dixit and Dr. Alpesh Patel for the care they have provided.
Visitation is Friday, September 20 from 6pm-8:30pm at WARREN FUNERAL HOME, 1475 N. Cemetery Rd., Gurnee. Memorial services are Saturday, September 21 at 11am at the funeral home with the Rev. Thomas A. Ekstrand officiating. Interment at Warren Cemetery & Mausoleum, Gurnee, IL.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, 4255 Westbrook Dr., Ste. 219, Aurora, IL 60504 (or online at angelman.org) or American Lung Association, 55 W. Wacker Dr., Ste. 800, Chicago, IL 60601.
Friday, September 20th, 2013 6:00pm - 8:30pm, Warren Funeral Home
Saturday, September 21st, 2013 11:00am, Warren Funeral Home
Warren Cemetery & Mausoleum