James Richard “Dick” Quinton, 89, Heyworth, died at 7 p.m. Saturday (July 14, 2012) in the Martin Health Center, Bloomington.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home, Bloomington, with the Rev. Amanda Richards officiating. Inurnment with military honors by the McLean and Heyworth American Legion posts will follow at Funks Grove Cemetery, rural McLean. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the memorial home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Funks Grove Cemetery Association and the Sugar Grove Nature Center in Funks Grove.
He was born Feb. 18, 1923, at Brokaw Hospital in Normal, the son of John Ralph and Helen Haynes Quinton, Heyworth. He married Mary Alice Glenn on June 16, 1945, in Yorkville. She survives.
Also surviving are daughters, Janice (Jim) Henling, Winslow, Ariz., and Joyce Quinton, Wheaton; sons, James Eric (Kathy) Quinton, De Witt, Iowa; Jonathan Thomas (Sarah) Quinton, Funks Grove; Jay Richard (Cheryl) Quinton, Carefree, Ariz.; and Jerald Brian (Stephanie) Quinton, Dixon; 13 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Bill, and his sister, Eleanor Walton.
He was a World War II veteran, with 35 missions as a pilot in B-17 bombers over Europe. He was reassigned to a P-51 fighter squadron as the war ended in Europe, preparatory to relocation to the Pacific Theater.
After the war, he graduated from Michigan State University. He was previously a basketball player for Illinois State Normal University, before interrupting his studies to enter Army Air Corps pilot training. He also taught many area farmers in vocational agricultural topics via “G.I. School” in the Funks Grove community. He was a farmer himself for 30 seasons on the family land near Heyworth. However, for five years during the late 1950s and early 1960s he moved his family to Yuma, Ariz., where he was a livestock specialist for the University of Arizona Co-operative Agricultural Extension Service. After returning to the Illinois farm in 1963, he re-established a base for private flying. He encouraged and enabled five of his six children in pursuit of their private pilot’s licenses and was a leader and longtime member of the Illinois Flying Farmers. He retired from active farming in 1984, but managed Funks Grove Church and Cemetery for 10 years afterward.
Dick will be missed by his family and many, many friends who will remember his love of flying, his dedication to his wife and family, and his strong support for the community.