James Lewis Habben, 66, passed away on Sunday, May 24, 2020.
James was born on June 12, 1953 in Canton, IL to Paul Lewis and Betty Mae (Hassler) Habben. He graduated from Ottawa Township High School (Class of 1971). After high school he attended Eureka College on a swimming scholarship and a few years later obtained a A.S. degree at Waubonsee Community College. He retired in 2007 after 35 years from Caterpillar in Montgomery, IL as a journeyman tool and die maker.
Jim, or Jimmy as most called him, was one of the smartest people anyone would ever know. At CAT he was known as “The Doctor” by his co-workers. He could fix and build anything and was always there to lend a friend a hand. He had in-depth knowledge on a broad range of subjects and could pick up any musical instrument like he had played for years.
He loved to travel with his family, going on several trips throughout the years to Hawaii and frequented the Southern coastal states where he was an avid scuba diver and somewhat of an amateur oceanologist, which was one of his many passions.
In his younger years, he was actively involved in both Ottawa and Streator YMCA’s where he was a competitive swimmer holding swim records for a time. Nationally recognized as a competitive diver and a State Champion gymnast winning first in state and winning many other first-place titles throughout Illinois competitions. Jim was naturally talented, and his talents went far beyond the pool and gym. He played the coronet in the OES and OHS bands, was an Eagle Scout and acted in many plays at both the Hedwig Schock Theatre and the Ottawa Youth Center Productions.
Survivors are: Sons Christopher (Pollyanna Neumann), Lewis and Lee Habben, their mother Karen (Andreatta) Habben and one grandson, Lucas Habben. Sisters Catherine Habben, Marilyn Hott and Carol Kuzmich. Nieces and Nephews: Kyle Kuzmich, Erika (Andy), Lauren, Aiden and Mason Mucci, James (Alena) and Shawn Wilson, Zhenya, Cassandra Skuranok, Michael Martin Jr. (Mary), Meaghan (Cameron) Lair, Mark Martin, Maize Wilson, Ali (Joshua) Jorgensen, and Garrett Andreatta. Plus, many wonderful cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Betty Habben, brother William Paul Habben, grandparents William and Anna Hassler and, Lewis and Helen Habben.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to be sent to the Ottawa YMCA*, attn. Joe Capece, 201 E. Jackson St, Ottawa, IL 61350. *Please refer to James Lewis Habben in the memo line.
Services will be held on Monday, June 1st, 2020 at Noon at the outdoor pavilion at Oakwood Memorial Park. A Celebration of Life Service with friends and family will be announced at a later date. Cremation services were provided by the Ottawa Funeral Home. His final place of rest will be the Oakwood Memorial Park Mausoleum, Ottawa, IL.
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