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In Memoriam

James (Jim) A. Gustafson


(from Williams-Kampp Funeral Home website)

Please share a memory of James to include in a keepsake book for family and friends. James A “Gus” Gustafson passed away peacefully on September 8, 2022 in Glen Ellyn, IL at 76 years ofage. He was born to Julia and Ture in 1946 in LaGrange, IL, the youngest of four siblings. With his two older brothers, Gus enjoyed building model airplanes, remote control toys, and football, interests that followed him throughout his life.

A 1964 graduate of Lyons Township High School and a 1969 graduate of Milliken University. Gus eschewed the honor rolls at Millikin to focus on his duties as social chair of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and was proud of the SAE friendships that he maintained throughout his life. Gus balanced his (lack of) interest in his studies with a love of writing. Though an avid collector of fun facts and trivia, he was one to note to his children that “D is for degree” (much to the chagrin of his wife, a lifelong educator). His wide-ranging (and sometimes bizarre) interests made him a hit at parties, and his willingness to fudge facts occasionally brought the loving mockery of his family.

At the request of his country (the Draft) Gus served his nation as a member of the Honor Guard in the U.S. Army. He felt fortunate to be assigned to the “Old Guard” in Washington, performing military funerals at Arlington Cemetery and having a part in writing and producing “Prelude To Taps,” a military tribute that was performed for years after he left the service. Gus returned to the Chicagoland area, taught the Media Workshop at College of DuPage, and moved into International Village, an apartment complex filled with friends and a busy social calendar. One November night while at the local watering hole “Schooners,” a friend introduced him to Laurie Noren, the love of his life. He proposed six weeks later (in his words “I needed to propose before she knew she could do better”), and they married the following June. Gus and Laurie proved “the couple that laughs together, stays together.” Laurie remained by Gus’ side right to the end, with a devotion that is legend.

Gus passed away just 9 months shy of their 50 th anniversary. Gus and Laurie had a daughter, Jaymie, and a son, Mike. Family life was one of Gus’s greatest joys (once the kids were old enough to be fun, in his opinion, around 2), and he took his role as “Dad” seriously. He never missed a chance to cook in the “Easy Bake Oven,” attend an “Indian Princesses” sleepover, battle with He-Man action figures, build a LEGO structure that would eventually collapse under its own ambition, or attend an athletic event of his kids (whether they got off the bench or not!). Mike and Jaymie will each remember him as their friend, constant playmate, biggest fan, pen pal, and (occasionally) partner in crime. They have hundreds of emails from him that they will cherish and frequently giggle about.

Football was Gus’s favorite sport and he never missed a Bears game (no matter how much he cursed them). His love extended to almost any football game, no matter how amateur. He was a longtime supporter of high school sports, knowing the route to every school in the St. Francis High School conference. He was a constant fixture on the sidelines of St. Francis games, armed with his multiple cameras and telephoto lenses. He didn’t care much about wins or losses, so long as he had at least one photo of every player to distribute at the next game, much to the delight of the players and their parents.

Gus exemplified the adage that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. After corporate creative services positions at American Hospital Association, U.S. Gypsum, and McDonalds, he followed his passion for writing and since he was going to do it anyway, he turned it into a full-time day job writing freelance corporate productions for a host of Fortune 500 companies. Possessed with a playful spirit and vivid imagination that needed an outlet, writing was also a hobby, creating numerous musicals and plays. He started with writing “Hook, Line, & Tinker” while still in high school and ended his career with over 35 published works, many of which continue to be performed throughout the United States and win their fair share of awards.

When Mike and his wife Carly brought grandsons Maxwell and Jonas into the family, Gus was thrilled to have another generation of kids to share his remote-controlled vehicles with and justify his saving those millions of LEGOS for so many years. He was often found on the floor with the boys.

Gus is survived by his wife, Laurie, children Jaymie and Mike (Carly Bolger), grandsons Maxwell and Jonas, brothers Charles (Jan) and Thomas (Kathy) along with their families. He is preceded in death by sister Ginger, parents Julia and Ture, and nephew Andrew Gustafson.

In lieu of flowers, please write down your stories to share them with your family while you’re still able or make a donation in his name to St. Francis High School, the Alzheimer’s Association, or Feeding America.

VISITATION: Sunday, September 18 from 2:00-6:00 PM at Williams-Kampp Funeral Home, 430 E. Roosevelt Road, Wheaton (one block east of Naperville Road).

FUNERAL SERVICES: Monday, September 19 at 10:00 AM at St. James the Apostle Church, 480 S Park Blvd, Glen Ellyn


Final Resting Place
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
20953 W Hoff Road
Elwood, IL 60421


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09/15/22 03:42 PM #1    

Carl J. Glaser

Jim was a talent of mega proportions and I am delighted that he was able to utilize his talents as well as he did throughout his career. I can't recite more than "...now take the spleen and cut it clean..." but his piece on disecting a frog was a stich (excuse the pun, sot of). I've come to the belief that there isn't a heaven and hell, per se, but rather the kind of person you were on earth is the kind of person you shall be in spirit. For some, that would be hell. For Jim it shall be an eternity of laughter!

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