Jim was born October 11, 1931 in Fairbury, the son of Aaron and Arlene (Entwistle) Steidinger. He married Fern Wilkins on September 6, 1953 and later married Joan Hostetter on March 3, 1968. She survives in Fairbury.
Also surviving are his children, Deanna (Kamran) Khadem of Georgetown, TX; Eric Steidinger Ward (Jim Robbins) of Willets, CA; Cathy Coleman of St. George, Utah; Christopher (Cindy) Coleman of Fisher, IL; Paul (Jodi) Coleman of Navarre, FL; eleven grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, one son, Gregory Steidinger; one grandson, Justin Steidinger; one brother, Richard A. Steidinger; and one sister, Lorene “Bunny” VanSickle.
Jim was a 1949 graduate of Fairbury High School and served in the US Navy from 1951 to 1955. He was a life-long resident of Fairbury and held various public service roles, including Precinct Committeeman, Zoning Commissioner, and Alderman. He also served as Mayor from 1981 through 1985. Jim spent his career as an owner/operator of Steidinger Tires, Inc. After his retirement, he launched a local home repair business.
Jim was a life-long learner and believed anyone could accomplish anything they set their mind to. He was a photographer and built his own development studio. He loved astronomy and built his own telescope. He enjoyed airplanes and flew a private plane for many years. He also built and flew an ultralight and served as a judge for the Experimental Aircrafts Association in Oshkosh. When Jim decided that he wanted to learn blacksmithing, he enrolled in classes to learn the trade, built his own equipment, and scoured railroad tracks for spikes to create beautiful hand-crafted objects. Jim also was a lover of classical music. He sang in a Barbershop Quartet, played classical guitar, and even took up piano in his 80s. Jim was an avid reader who enjoyed anything from a good mystery to quantum physics. He was also a master gardener and a devoted animal advocate.
Cremation rites have been accorded with Duffy-Pils Memorial Home, Fairbury, in charge of arrangements.
A Zoom memorial service is being planned. To participate, please leave your name and email address in the condolences and tributes section at www.duffypilsmemorialhome.com and the family will send you an invitation. An in-person celebration of life is also being planned for a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Fairview Haven Retirement Community, Fairbury.