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Jim Suren

Jim Suren, Class of '64, died December 14, 2016.

Jim battled colon cancer through the summer. While recuperating, he developed Bell's palsy. Then, on the Monday after Thanksgiving, he suffered a stroke and couldn't manage verbal communication beyond 'yes' and 'no.'

Through the generosity of Jim's close friends, especially Bob Eshom (a friend from childhood), Jim's sister, Jean, was able to fly from her home in Nairobi, Kenya and be with Jim since her arrival on Monday night.

Jim donated his body to science.

Jimmer could fix anything. In 1964, he cobbled together a stereo system for the junior/senior rec hall, earning the gratitude of all high school upperclassmen. But his specialty was cars, trucks, and the motors that powered them. Just before Thanksgiving 1963, the Campus Highlights ran a feature on aspects of seminary life to be thankful for ...

T is for our new Truck, the pride of the school. We should be thankful to Fr. Wightman for buying more trucks. Just think, in four years each student will have a truck of his very own. If Fr. didn't buy the trucks, his chief mechanic, Jim Suren, would be out of work.

After St. Henry's, Jim attended St. Meinrad's Seminary in Indiana. His work thereafter -- his ministry, as he saw it -- was helping others. He worked at St. John's Children Home here in Belleville, was an instructor for Carrier's heating and air conditioning unit, was a weatherization expert for the state of Indiana, and ran a nonprofit organization installing and servicing furnaces and air conditioners for poor people.

Jimmer was a man of faith and hope, but mostly, he was a man of love. He wore his heart on his sleeve, so much so that I sometimes thought he was born inside out. He was ever effusive. After our alumni conclave in April 2015, Jim wrote to me ...

The Conclave was AWESOME -- A gathering of powerful men with large, giving hearts... I really appreciate your Inspired Servant Leadership coupled with Your Servant Heart... God's Hope & Peace Is With Us Always.

In 1965, Jimmer and I had summer jobs at the AFCO Heating and Air Conditioner factory in Red Bud, Illinois. At lunch, we'd cross a tiny creek to the city park, gobble our sandwiches, then turn to an article that Jim had read -- usually on sociology, psychology, or religion. We'd discuss it, as much as a half-hour lunch period would allow. That evening, I would write a critique (often a rebuttal, smart-ass that I was), and we would discuss it the next day. Usually, Jimmer would argue in the article's favor and point out my fallacies. I was exposed to ideas beyond my intellectual periphery; it was a great way to learn.

Jimmer brought energy and a 'large, giving heart' to life's circumstances -- his own and others'. He blessed us all. 

A memorial service was held.

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I just saw this. Jim was my cousin. So sorry for his suffering. I would like to get in touch with his sister, Jean. As kids we were very close and spent the night at each other's house.

Ceal Clever Parchomski Feb 10 2018 12:00 AM

I had the opportunity to visit with Jim for a few minutes after a St. Henry's Alumni meeting in 2014. He was everything this short summary describes. We have lost touch with so many wonderful people and Jim was surely one of them. We had a short connection because I "grew up" at Burksville Station (New Design on the map) so there was sort of a Waterloo connection. It was a privilege to know him and I hope you find comfort in many positive memories of a very giving person.

Ray Heinen, St. Henry's Class of '63 Dec 28 2016 12:00 AM