James “Jim” Kalapis 1937-2020


Memorials may be made to the Grandchildren’s Educational Fund, in care of Cari Kalapis.

James “Jim” Joseph Kalapis, age 83, died Monday, July 13, 2020 at 9:15 am in his home.

A Visitation with family and friends is Sunday afternoon, July 19, 2020 at First Christian Church (3350 N. MacArthur Rd., Decatur) from 3:00-5:00 pm. His Funeral will be Monday, July 20, 2020, also at First Christian Church, at 1:00 pm. Pastors Wayne Kent and Tim Revis will officiate. Burial will be in Macon County Memorial Park, Harristown, Illinois. Memorials may be made to the Grandchildren’s Educational Fund, in care of Cari Kalapis. Tanzyus Logan Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.

Jim was born in April of 1937 in Decatur, the son of Joseph and Hazel Kalapis. He was the middle child of his family with an older sister Barbara Boyd (Decatur) and a younger sister Kathy Hlavek (Winter Park, Florida).  He was a 1956 graduate of Decatur High School. Jim completed his carpenter apprenticeship and journeyman work to become a Union Carpenter after graduating High School. His early jobs were with Morgan and Miller and then Bob Kayes. Both opportunities allowed Jim to work on many homes and buildings in Decatur, which included being lead carpenter on the Millikin Home restoration in 1976. Known as a finish carpenter, he was an accomplished craftsman and longtime member of the Carpenter’s Local 742. Jim was also the owner ofARMY_ Kalapis Construction where he was a subcontractor for Illini Supply and installed many casework contracts for multiple school districts and universities throughout Illinois.  He married his beloved Sue in April of 1957. Jim served in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Lewis Washington in the early 1960’s.

He is survived by daughter, Cari Kalapis of Dana Point, CA; grandson Tarren Kalapis of Rigby, ID, Tarren’s fiancé, Brooke McCorkle and his great grandchildren Aurora and Zayne Kalapis; granddaughter Justine Kalapis-Plainfeather of Gold Bar, WA.

Jim was preceded by his wife, Sue Kalapis; son, Colin Kalapis; and parents, Joseph and Hazel Kalapis.

Jim had a quick wit and he loved to make people laugh. Jim always had a story to share and could weave a tale you wouldn’t realize was untrue until the very end. Instinctively, Jim was incredibly creative, was known as a fantastic whistler, and gave of his time freely to friends, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and First Christian Church. His daughter reminisces that they couldn’t go anywhere locally where someone didn’t come up and know her Dad.

When his own family with Sue came along, he was active in BSA with his son Colin, as well as active in many aspects of First Christian Church by being a deacon, elder, and serving on many church committees. Jim was also very active on his Decatur High School Class Reunion committee.

Jim was the recipient of many awards: 1979 – Order of the Arrow Honor, Adult Ordeal;  1980 – Order of the Arrow Honor, Adult Brotherhood;  1982 – Order of the Arrow Honor, Adult Vigil; 1985 – District Award of Merit; 1988 – “Take Pride in America Award” which was presented to him at the White House Rose Garden by Ronald Reagan. This award was based on the work that Jim had facilitated as Lodge Advisor for the Order of the Arrow on the Chief Illini Trail at Lake Shelbyville. Additionally, Jim served on the Executive Board of the Lincoln Trails Council, as well as a Unit Commissioner, District Member-at Large on the Council Advisory Council, and as a Committee Member for Troop 202.

Jim and Sue enjoyed traveling to visit their daughter Cari wherever she lived and they enjoyed many unique adventures together. After Sue’s passing, Jim continued to travel to his daughter’s home in California and would routinely boast on having “a bedroom in California.” Jim was a Car Show enthusiast, avid stamp collector, loved tinkering with British cars and creating things in his shop. His favorite things were his wife Sue, Sunday night pizza, deserts, weekly coffee routine with his friends at McDonalds and Panera, as well as having his daughter “disrupt” his lifestyle during her bi-monthly visits.

Jim’s sense of humor, overall happy personality, and his legendary hugs will be greatly missed. His daughter, Cari Kalapis, would like to thank DMH Hospice, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Starting Point, Help at Home, and Cancer Care Specialists of Illinois for their help and support throughout Jim’s illness.

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1 thought on “James “Jim” Kalapis 1937-2020

  1. Larry and I just want to extend our sincere condolences with the loss of Jim. Both of us loved to talk to him after each service and he often teased Larry about his piano playing. He loved to tell us stories, and we loved to hear them. We’ve lost a sweet soul, but we know he is finally home with the Lord and Sue. Jim was a one-of-a-kind, thoughtful and caring person that we will miss. Please know we share in your loss.

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