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James Ralph Stutts

WILMINGTON, Ill. — Mr. James Ralph Stutts, 84, of Wilmington, Ill., passed away Sunday, June 23, 2013, at Silver Cross Medical Center in New Lenox.

Born May 24, 1929, in Rupertown, Tenn., James was a son of the late Kenneth Wesley and Sarah Edna Beatty-Stutts. He was raised in Tennessee and honorably served in the United States Marine Corps from 1949 to 1951, and then in the 9th Marine Corps Reserves until  1953.

On Dec. 26, 1953, Jim married Bette Vilt and together they raised their family in Wilmington. Jim was a member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local #701,as well as the Wilmington Lodge #208 A.F. & A.M. He worked his entire life as a welder and retired in 1991.

Jim was a great supporter and avid fan of Wilmington Wildcat sports, and remained active with the Wilmington Cat Backers. He volunteered for many years at Kuzma Care Cottage in Wilmington, and will be remembered for his garden, of which he shared with so many.

In years past, Jim enjoyed hunting and fishing, as well as tools and carpentry. He was truly a do-it-yourself guy, who could fix anything and repaired small engines, appliances and televisions.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Bette; two daughters, Kathy (Charlie) Stewart of Braidwood, Ill., and Nancy (Jeff) Dillon of Wilmington; daughter-in-law Debra Stutts of Midland, Mich.; six grandchildren:, Kyle Dillon (fiancée Kristie Lindgren) and Eric (Aaren) Dillon, both of Wilmington, Scot Stewart of Chicago, Amy Stewart (Keith Rader) of Kansas City, Mo., Sarah (Tommy) Rockwell of Pontiac, Mich., and Thom Stutts (Allison) of Louisville, Ky.; one great-grandbaby, Dillon, on the way; one brother; and one sister.

Jim was preceded in death by his son, Kenneth, and two sisters.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, June 26, from 4 p.m. until the time of Masonic Services at 7 p.m. in Freitag-Reeves & Baskerville Funeral Home, 700 East Kahler Road in Wilmington.

Funeral services will follow at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 27, in the funeral home, with Pastor Mi-Sook Yoo from the First United Methodist Church in Wilmington officiating. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery, Wilmington.

Pallbearers will be Lou Girot, Bill Locke, Mike Long, John Murdie, Richard Ragain and Andy Stanton.

Preferred memorials in lieu of flowers may be made as gifts in Jim’s memory to Kuzma Care Cottage, 635 South Main Street, Wilmington, Illinois 60481 or to First United Methodist Church, 401 East Kahler Road, Wilmington, Illinois 60481.

Friends may sign the online guestbook or send private condolences to the family by logging onto

Funeral services and arrangements have been made under the direction and care of Matthew R. Baskerville, CFSP. For additional information, call (815) 476-2181.


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