ROCHELLE — James “Big Jim” Lee Garrison, 81, passed away Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at Serenity Hospice and Home in Oregon.
Jim was born on Sept. 23, 1939 to Floyd and Myrtle (Farmer) Garrison in Center Hill, Ark. He graduated from Monette High School in Monette, Ark. He served his country in the U.S. Army while stationed with the Berlin Strike Force in 1962-63 in Germany, plus two years in the Army Reserve.
While in high school, he came with many other teenaged men to work the summers at Del Monte in Rochelle. His love for the town brought him back where he lived the rest of his life. He worked 30 years for Armour Swift-Eckrich (beginning the first day they opened in Rochelle). He retired on a Friday and on Monday began his next 18 years with Kishwaukee College until his retirement on Jan. 1, 2008. The next day he had a major stroke.
He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and a founding father of the Northern Illinois Tres Dias movement in Illinois where he served on approximately 53 teams to help spread the Christian renewal weekends to thousands of men. He worked for other renewal movements in Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin. His inspiring talks about his little green wheelbarrow helped to enlarge the Lord’s kingdom.
He taught Sunday School off and on most of his adult life. Many teenagers thought he was the best CIA “Quiet Control” agent they knew. His happiest days were with family and fishing on vacation with family and friends.
The gentle giant of a man married Connie Stroud-Miller Garrison in 1983 and became the step-dad to Marc (Bretta) Miller of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Brook (BJ) Miller of Dixon; he was Papa to Zach Miller of Leadville, Colo., Autumn Philp of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Ben and Quinn Miller of Dixon; and Big Papa to great-grandson, Oaklee Pickering, also of Cedar Falls.
He is survived by his brother, Bille Garrison of Steward; sisters, MayBell Garrison and Marie McCosh of West Plains, Mo., plus several nieces and nephews. He’s also survived by his daughter from his first marriage, Michelle Dolley of Lynchburg, Va.
A special thanks to hospice helpers, Sheila and Stephanie. You became family members who helped us travel this journey. Thank you will never be enough.
Memorial visitation will be from 9:30-11:00 a.m., Monday, April 19, 2021 at the First Presbyterian Church, 1100 Calvin Road, Rochelle. The memorial service will follow at 11 a.m., with Pastor Doug Forsberg and Chaplain Judy Williams officiating. Burial will be at Trinity Memory Gardens in Rochelle with military honors provided by the Eastern Lee/Ogle Honor Guard.
Memorials may be made in Jim’s memory to the First Presbyterian Church or Serenity Hospice and Home. Visit www.ungerhorner.com to sign the online guest book.