Jim J. Lalor, 85, of Woodstock, (formerly of Hebron), closed his kind blue eyes one last time as he made his journey to meet the love of his life, Patricia Harris whom he fondly called “Patty,” when he entered the gates of heaven in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2020.
Jim was an amazing and kind man born of Irish heritage on Nov. 19, 1934, the son of Walter and Marguerite Lalor. Irish to the core, his family originally hailed from Lisronagh County, in Tipperary, Ireland.
Jim, or “Grandpa” or “Papa” as his grandkids called him, was a saint among men and one of the kindest souls you may have ever encountered with an unbridled passion for sports, an uncanny ability to recall historic events, and an unmistakable belly laugh. As we recognize and honor this amazing human being, we vow to honor his request for “nothing flashy, nothing splashy,” but to also share his life's story.
He loved God, and he loved his beloved Patty immensely. Their love story began on September 22, 1965, but only after he’d called twice and missed her each time. Third time was the charm as the Dodgers game was on; Sandy Koufax was pitching and going for the all-time strikeout record. They eventually had to pull him after a home run was hit with the bases loaded.
On Jan. 2, 1966, after going bowling he asked for Patty’s hand in marriage on the same day the Green Bay Packers beat the Cleveland Browns in the NFC Championship Game. Paul Horning scored on the last touchdown with a sweep to the left. Mom said “yes”, and although he believes he bowled a 120 that day, that would be the last time he ever bowled.
They had a beautiful marriage since they wed on May 22, 1966, and he’s missed her terribly ever since her passing on June 14, 2007.
He grew up in Hebron, attended school in the one room schoolhouse on Johnson Road in Hebron, and went on to graduate from St. Mary’s in 1952. He played basketball against, and admittedly lost to, the infamous ’52 Hebron State Championship team.
He served in the United States Army in 1957, and after being stationed at Fort Dix in New Jersey, was deployed to Wiesbaden, Germany and served in the Communications and Missile Tracking capacities. He was proud and honored to serve his country.
He saw Pope Pius the 12th in St. Peters Basilica, the ’60 Olympics venue in Rome and the 100th Anniversary for the Healing of Fatima. He saw a bullfight in Madrid and ventured on a religious retreat to Birches Garden and saw Big Ben in London. He saw things across the world, and he appreciated
his time in the service as a great experience for someone who had never left home. He went on to paint houses, and then managed his own Lalor Family Dairy Farm for decades until his retirement after 39 years.
He was a simple man with simple ways; simple philosophies, and simple kindness all his life. He tried to be kind to all, and to always do the right thing. Selfless; always asking about everyone else, every time.
As an avid and lifetime fan of the Chicago Cubs, he stayed up long past his 8 o’clock bedtime to watch the Cubs clinch the World Series in 2016. He was a fan of the Green Bay Packers since their days playing in Milwaukee, and the last game he watched was the Bears vs. Packers and could be heard yelling “Come On” and “Get ‘Em”; and at the end of the 21-13 game, he said, “that was too close.”
In 2007, he found a new calling and started giving of himself and of his personality by volunteering for more than 6,264.92 hours at Centegra Hospital in Woodstock until April ’19. He volunteered on average of 3-4 days a week, when expected to only volunteer one day a week.
In 2013, he was recognized as an Everyday Hero for simply being himself. He didn’t work for pins; but he gave of himself and he loved making others feel comfortable in his care during their most vulnerable times. He aspired to know everything about everyone he guided through the hospital, and those he worked with. He knew everyone, and they loved him. He didn’t see people’s challenges or negativities; he simply saw people as God’s children.
As a diehard sports and football fan, he and his wife were loyal followers and could be found in the stands at Stillman Valley, Marian Catholic and Ripon football games as they enjoyed watching their sons coach their respective teams. He remembered scores and plays better than almost anyone.
He loved his children and grandchildren with all his heart. Few things gave him greater joy than to watch their athletic activities, or spend time playing cards, UNO, Skipbo, whiffle ball or ESPN trivia with them at family gatherings. And, don’t think for one second that he would take it easy on them as kids. No, he would play to win, regardless of their young ages. He said that would be what he would miss most after leaving, it would be watching them play in their games.
For the last several months, he has been cared for in his home, and enveloped by his loving family and his incredible caregivers Benji, Shy and many others with the utmost of love and compassion.
He is preceded in death by his parents Walter Lalor (1951) and Marguerite Lalor (1965), and his wife Patricia Ann Lalor (2007). He is survived to carry on his legacy by his children, Laura Lalor, Joe and Jennifer Lalor, Mike and Heather Lalor, Tim and Colleen Lalor; and Chris and Sarah Lalor; his brother Tom (Ann) Lalor, and his sister Mary Hart. and his grandchildren who loved him so: Tera Lalor, Owen Lalor, Logan Lalor, Olivia Lalor, Brad Lalor, Ryan Lalor, Gwen Lalor, Monica Lalor, Josh Lalor, and numerous nieces and nephews.
His legacy was honored with a visitation, Funeral mass with military honors and a dinner and open microphone where friends and family were able to share their favorite stories and memories.
In lieu of flowers, we kindly ask that you offer random acts of kindness as you go forth in your days. Donations may be made in his honor to St. Vincent dePaul, or to The Lalor family for the establishment of a private Jim Lalor scholarship fund to be made in his honor to help students in need.
He was humble and selfless to the nth degree; the exact epitome of the type of people this world needs more of, and he will be missed beyond measure.