CHARLESTON - James “Jim” Forrest Stratton, 77, of Charleston, IL passed away unexpectedly on April 28th at Carle Hospital in Urbana, IL. He is survived by his wife, Debbie (Loveless); son Jim, his wife, Megan, and granddaughters, Maggie and Emma of Lafayette, IN; stepchildren, Liam and Liv of Charleston, IL; niece, Holly (Tryon) and her husband Ed Kuykendall of Visalia, CA; and his eternally loyal Dalmatian, Sugar. He his preceded in death by his father, James Westbrook Stratton; mother, Evelyn Juanita Stratton (Hasty); and sister, Sharon Elbert Tryon.
Jim was born in Crete, IL but raised in Clinton and Dana, IN. He attended graduate school at Indiana University (Bloomington) where he completed two master’s degrees and a PhD. For nearly 45 years, Jim was a Professor of Geology at Eastern Illinois University, where he taught courses in oceanography, paleontology, geology, and hydrogeology, and led the summer field school program in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Jim’s love for earth science led him to research partnerships with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Moss Landing, CA and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where he was an active member, regular visitor, and dedicated philanthropist.
Jim loved good food and good wine. He relished in planning and hosting the annual summer cookout for his extended family—the Cahokia Lane neighbors. Of an evening, he could be found in the kitchen, cooking with his wife; on the weekends, in his shop, fixing unbroken things with his son; and in-between, in his woods, hiking, mushroom hunting, and conserving the natural woodlands. Jim was so full of life and energy, as well as immense love for those closest to him. For those lucky individuals, the world has forever dimmed in his absence.
There will be no public service, but a Celebration of Life in his beloved woods will follow later this summer. Memorials in his name can be made to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Arrangements: Harper-Swickard.
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