Photo: James/Malone/Morris/1947-2020

James R. “Rick” Malone, Jr., 72, passed away peacefully Monday, January 20, 2020 at home with his family at his bedside.

A devoted father and husband, Jim found the most joy in life spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren. He leaves behind a legacy of love and laughter, having been most remembered for his smile, fun-loving nature and knack for striking up conversation with just about anyone.

Jim’s life journey ended following a hard struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, which took his ability and desire for the entertaining and conversation that he loved so much.

Born Aug. 5, 1947 in Joliet, IL, Jim was the son of the late James R. and Josephine (Kastelec) Malone. He graduated from St. Patrick’s Grade School in Joliet despite having led a group of schoolmates out the window and back home on his first day of first grade. He cherished his years playing youth sports, pitching at St. Joe’s and Rivals Park in Joliet as well as playing basketball at St. Pat’s. He was a member of the first graduating class at Joliet West High School in 1965.

He was a veteran of the United States Army serving from 1966 to 1968, stationed in Vietnam from July 1967 to July 1968.

Jim met the love of his life, Patricia A. (Kaveney), when they were both teenagers. They were married for more than 51 years. They had five children and six grandchildren. Jim worked for more than 34 years with Commonwealth Edison/Exelon. He spent many of those years at Dresden Power Plant in Morris, where he was affectionately known as “Mouse” to the many co-workers he called friends. He lived for more than 24 years in Minooka before retiring in Morris in 2002.

He was an avid sports fan, rooting for almost any Chicago area sports team through the high school, college and professional ranks, especially the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He passed his passion for sports on to his two sons and shared countless hours with them watching the game of the day.

He was always a willing and enthusiastic chauffer for his children, escorting them to music lessons, sports practices and many adventures at the park. As a father and grandfather, one of his goals was to entertain and have the children laughing and smiling. His grandchildren fondly remember his dancing, tea parties, underdogs on the swings and his famous “dipsy doodle ball” pitch.

Jim is survived by his wife, Patricia; four children, Cindy (the late Rodney) Jenkins of Morris, Jeff Malone of Morris, Dawn (Bill) Lambert of Westfield, IN, and Mark (Brandy) Malone of Channahon; and six grandchildren, Amanda Jenkins, Jessica Jenkins, Alex Lambert, Austin “A.J.” Lambert, Noah Malone and Annalise Malone.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kathleen, who passed away shortly after birth in June of 1969; his parents; and his special grandparents, Ignac and Antonia Kastelec.

Cremation rites were accorded. A private memorial service will be held by the family at a later date.

Jim’s family wishes to thank all the medical professionals, including the Joliet Area Community Hospice, who helped him during this difficult journey.

Arrangements have been entrusted with U.C. Davis-Callahan Funeral Home, 301 W. Washington St., Morris, IL. For further information visit the website at www.ucdaviscallahan.com or contact the funeral home at 815-942-0084. Online condolences may be directed to the family by visiting the website.