James Norman Vancko


James Norman Vancko, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle passed away at age 72 on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, at home in Oregon. Jim was born in Sayre, Pa., on Feb. 28, 1948, the son of Michael and Mary (Delovich) Vancko.

Jim grew up in Lopez and Williamsport, Pa., playing baseball and enjoying music. He was an avid Penn State fan and accomplished tuba and bass player. Jim was a 1966 graduate of Williamsport High School. Williamsport is also where he met the love of his life, Teresa Frazier. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering at Penn State in 1970.

In the summer of 1970, Teresa and he were married in a beautiful outdoor wedding. They lived in Kenosha, Wis., where Josh was born in 1974. They moved to Rockford, where Sacha (1977) and Mandy (1980) were born. As a family of five, they moved to Oregon, in 1985. He worked for 40 years at nuclear power plants in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.

Especially in his later years, he freelanced playing stand-up-bass and tuba in many bands. He enjoyed life to the fullest including raising his family, working on old cars, fixing radios, and playing his instruments. He was greatly appreciated for his passion for music and made a lasting impression on everyone he met. He was an amazing music mentor to many.

One of his greatest roles in life was playing Santa for 30 years. One day, in 1990, he came up with this wild idea to sew himself a Santa suit. This snowballed into our family Christmas charity "Santa to the Rescue."

Jim Vancko will be missed by all. He is survived by his wife Teresa (Frazier) Vancko; son Josh (Andrea) Vancko, and their children Alex (18) and Ethan (12); daughter Sacha DeVoe (Mike Roberts) and children Taylor (23), Georgia (19), James (13), and Reese (6); and daughter Mandy (Ed) Muren and their son Mateo (6).

He is also survived by his brother Jerry Vancko and sister Pamela Sten.

If you knew him as James, Jim, Jimmy, Jimbo, Dad, Dante', Boss, Gumby, Santa, or Uncle Bolo's nephew, we know he left an impression on you. His sense of humor remained intact until the very end.

Jim will be remembered at a celebration of life jam in 2021. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Serenity Hospice and Home (1658 IL Route 2 Oregon, IL 61061) who lovingly helped us care for him for 21 days at home before his passing or the Jim Vancko Band Scholarship Fund at Byron High School (696 N. Colfax St. Byron, IL 61010)