top banner

Obituary Listings

James E. Highfill

May 1, 1927 April 25, 2016
James E. Highfill
There are condolences waiting approval on James's Tribute wall

Plant a tree in memory of James

An environmentally friendly option
Obituary for James E. Highfill
Peoria- James E. Highfill, Sr., 88, of Peoria passed away at 5:57 a.m. Monday, April 25, 2016, at Apostolic Christian Skyline.

James was born on May 1, 1927, in Peoria to the late Herman and Anna (Dietrich) Highfill. On Sept. 10, 1943, at the age of 16, Jim and Marjorie Deming eloped to Wayland, Mo., where they were married by a justice of the peace. They kept the marriage a secret until Feb. 6, 1944. Jim’s mother, a strict Catholic, insisted that they live apart until they were married in the Catholic Church. They were married again on Sept. 9, 1944, at St. Mary’s Rectory in Peoria. They went on to have seven children. Marjorie died in 1972. Jim later married his business partner, Pearl Lord, in 1991. Pearl died in 2006.

He was also preceded in death by his three brothers; two sisters; one son, Jay Highfill; and one daughter, Jimette Highfill.

He is survived by five children, James (Ling) Highfill of Springfield, Ill, Janie (Doug) Carrol of Oswego, Ill, Judy (Joe) Naumann of Peoria, John (Cristine) Highfill of Peoria, and Jeff (Pam) Highfill of Peoria; as well as 13 grandchildren, Justin and Adam Carrol of Chicago, Brian and Brett Anderson of Atlanta, Ga., Robert Anderson of Chicago, Brandon Highfill of Springfield, and Josh Spatcht, Ashley, Jack, Jay, Haley, Halston, and Hunter Highfill all of Peoria.

Jim is also survived by his loving friend, Juanita Allender. The family is very grateful to Juanita for her care of Jim, which enabled him to remain in his home during his final years.

He graduated from St. Mary’s grade school and attended one year at Spalding High School. At a young age, he would set pins at a bowling alley and park cars in a downtown lot. He later worked for Fleming and Potter and developed pictures at night for Fabry’s Studios.

Jim served in the armed forces in Italy during World War II. After the war, he was anxious to return to his family and return to work.

He worked for a short time for Caterpillar in the photo lab and then worked for Walgreens for 10 years, which had one of the busiest photo departments in the entire company. He then went to work for Lens and Camera. They placed a huge portrait of him in the window so that all of his downtown customers knew where he was working. He later picked up a night job printing pictures for Rembrandt Studio. In 1961, when the owner died, he purchased Rembrandt Studio for $1,000. Initially, Rembrandt Studio didn’t take school portraits, however he went door-to-door convincing schools to give him a chance until Rembrandt Studio was one of the largest school photography businesses in the Midwest. Jim had studios in Peoria, Pekin, Dixon, Springfield, Normal, and Lombard. He never forgot all of the school principals, superintendents, and yearbook advisors that helped to make his dreams come true.

Jim’s faith was very important to him. He was a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Peoria Heights since 1949. When he didn’t have a car, his family would walk to church, even in the snow or rain. He was also a member of Cursillo #77 and was involved for over 30 years. Additionally, he sponsored about 25 people for Cursillo and faithfully participated in his weekly group reunions since making his own Cursillo. He thought Bishop O’Rourke was one of the finest individuals that he had ever met and cherished his deep friendship with Father Thomas Henseler, who prayed with him just hours prior to his death. He prayed the Rosary every night at bedtime.

He always looked forward to calls and visits from his nieces and nephews.

He was a 50-year member of the Knights of Columbus, Spalding Council #427, Third Degree.

A funeral Mass will be at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at St. Thomas Catholic Church. Msgr. Jason Gray will officiate. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, May 2, 2016, also at the church, with recitation of the Rosary at 7 p.m. An additional visitation will be one hour prior to the Mass at the church. Wright & Salmon Mortuary is handling the arrangements.

Memorials may be made to St. Thomas Food Bank or Cursillo.

Friends may sign the online guestbook or send private condolences by logging onto
Read More

Previous Events





5:00 PM 5/2/2016 5:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 5/2/2016 7:00:00 PM
St. Thomas Catholic Church

904 E Lake Ave
Peoria Heights, IL 61616

Recitation of the Rosary at 7 p.m..

St. Thomas Catholic Church
904 E Lake Ave Peoria Heights 61616 IL
United States

Funeral Mass




11:30 AM 5/3/2016 11:30:00 AM
St. Thomas Catholic Church

904 E Lake Ave
Peoria Heights, IL 61616

Visitation one hour prior.

St. Thomas Catholic Church
904 E Lake Ave Peoria Heights 61616 IL
United States

Memorial Contribution

Peoria Cursillo Center

P.O. Box 10684
Peoria, IL 61612-0684

St. Thomas the Apostle Food Pantry


Create new album
Subscribe To Obituaries


We appreciate your support
In accordance with the wishes of the family, this
message has been declined.