University News

Services Set for WIU Foundation Board Member James Garner

January 29, 2014

Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL -- A funeral mass for longtime Western Illinois University Foundation Board Member James Garner will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1 at St. Paul Church in Macomb. Burial, with military rites, will follow at the St. Paul Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31 at the church, followed by a Catholic wake service at 7 p.m.

Garner, 87, passed away Jan. 26 in Macomb. He was a member of the WIU Foundation Board for 28 years, serving as president from 1981-83, and was a member of Western's Performing Arts Society. A 1950 WIU graduate, he received the University's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987.

Working with the Foundation, Garner was instrumental in establishing the endowment for the Cecil P. McDonough Endowed Professorship in Business at Western. McDonough and Garner's mother grew up in the same hometown, and at Garner's mother's funeral service, McDonough introduced himself to the then Foundation Board President Garner. A friendship ensued and the two began exchanging letters. Just prior to Memorial Day in 1983, Garner received a note from McDonough indicating he was in failing health; and in a follow-up telephone conversation later, McDonough told Garner he had made some estate plans and would be willing to meet with WIU Foundation staff for possible provisions to Western. The meeting resulted in the endowed professorship -- the first for the WIU College of Business and Technology -- and the academic development fund.

He received the "Award of Recognition" presented by Western Illinois University and the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce for Businessman of the Year in 1978. Garner was a past member of the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities. He was an agent and manager for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. for 58 years.

"Jim was an exemplary Foundation Board member. He gave his time and financial resources to Western, and he encouraged others to give back to the University," said Brad Bainter, vice president for advancement and public services and executive director of the Foundation Board. "Jim will be missed in the community and at Western. On behalf of the Western Illinois University Foundation board, we offer our heartfelt sympathies to the Garner family."

He is survived by three sons, David, John and Joseph, one daughter, Susan Wenzel, and eight grandchildren. His wife, Betty, preceded him in death.

The full obituary can be found at

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing