L. James “Jim” Struif

Alton | Tuesday, June 26 2012

L. James “Jim” Struif, 80, passed away at 10:01 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at home in Alton, Illinois after a two year battle with cancer. He was born on September 18, 1931 in Alton Illinois, the son of the late Leo John and Clara Lillie (Bauer) Struif.

He married Shirley Spatz Cummings in 1965: she survives. He is also survived by his four children, Scott Struif and wife, Kerry of Godfrey, Jamie Struif-Pehowski and husband, Steven, of Fort Mill, South Carolina, Susie Bazzell and husband, Lance, of Godfrey, and Jeff Struif and wife, Missy of Godfrey; eight grandchildren Jessica Johnson, Brennan Struif, Adam Pehowski, Jenna Pehowski, Connor Bazzell, Chloe Bazzell, Lola Struif, Hattie Struif; one great grandchild, Collin Griffin; one sister, Jean Malone of Glen Rock, NJ; and his nieces and nephews from New Jersey.

He graduated from Alton Senior High School in January 1949 and Northwestern University in 1953. After enlisting in the Navy in 1954 Jim served four years of sea duty on a submarine in the Pacific Ocean where he was a submarine officer. After leaving the Navy, he attended law school at the University of Illinois, graduating in 1959. Jim then spent five years as a legal counsel and faculty member of SIU Edwardsville. From 1963 until retirement in 2011 he was in general law practice, opening a private practice in 1968.

He was a member of the Evangelical United Church of Christ where he was an Elder, taught Sunday School and designed and maintained the Courtyard Garden. During his life Jim was active in the Boy Scouts of America, first as a scout, then as camp counselor and later as a Scoutmaster. He worked toward racial equality which included working as a civil rights activist in Mississippi in 1966 and being one of the founders of the Madison County Urban League. He was a life-long conservationist involved in prairie restoration and who helped found The Nature Institute. His interests included gardening, magic, and music.

Per his wishes he was cremated. A memorial visitation will be from 4:00-8:00 p.m. Friday, June 29, 2012 at Gent Funeral Home in Alton. A Memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 30, 2012 at the Evangelical United Church of Christ. Reverend Jerry MeCaskey will officiate. Burial will be private.

Memorials may be made to the Evangelical United Church of Christ in Godfrey. Online guestbook and information may be found at

Obit Provided By:
Gent Funeral Home

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