OREGON – James Stephen Fleming, better known as Jim, Jimbo and Papa, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 at home surrounded by loved ones following a valiant and hard fought 13-year battle with leukemia. Jim was born July 11, 1952 in Dixon, to Stephen Harry and Janie Medrith (McMillion) Fleming and older sister Penelope.
He married Trudy Byrd on Aug. 29, 1982. He worked over three decades as a salesman in the tri-state area specializing in material handling equipment, retiring in 2015 from Rockford Rigging Inc. His passion in life was being an outdoorsman. As an avid hunter, gunsmith, goat wrangler, trap shooter, horseman and fisherman Jim was a modern day cowboy. A lifelong Chicago Bears fan, he could often be heard in the neighboring county sharing his opinions with the television screen when the glory of the 1985 Monsters of the Midway began to fade. Those most blessed to share their lives with Jim, knew him simply as Papa, The Man, The Myth, The Legend.
His memory lives on in the hearts of his wife of 36 years Trudy (Byrd) and their children Brett (Michele) Piefer, Sara (Lisa) Piefer, Jennie (Jon Rodriguez) Byrd and Stephanie (Brian) Kaskavage and eight grandchildren Ryan, Abigail, Emily, Dylan, Isaac, Jameson, Graham and Caroline.
He lived a celebrated life, treating friends like family, offering help to those in need and in the spirit of his childhood hero John Wayne who said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
Family greeted those wishing to pay their respects and share fun stories from the life of this remarkable man on Wednesday, Oct. 10 from 5-7 p.m. at the Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home, 110 S. 7th Street in Oregon. Funeral service was at 2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Oregon United Methodist Church with the Rev. Megan Smick and Rev. Randy Heinzeroth officiating. In lieu of flowers a memorial fund is established in Jim’s name. To leave a condolence visit www.farrellhollandgale.com.