On Monday, April 6, 2020, James John Wolf Sr. passed away at the age of 72.
Jim was born on Wednesday, November 12, 1947 in Blue Island, IL to Gene and Gerry (Rickhoff) Wolf. He grew up in Blue Island and attended St. Benedict’s Parish School. He went on to Quigley Preparatory Seminary South and St. Willibrord High School in Chicago from 1961 to 1965. After high school, he attended Washburne Trade School in Chicago from 1965 to 1969, training as a sheet metal apprentice. He was drafted and served in the United States Army until 1971. After being honorably discharged, he resumed his career as a sheet metal journeyman at John J. Rickhoff Sheet Metal Co. in Harvey, IL and married Sandy (Boele). Together, they raised four sons, Jim Jr., Josh, Jeremy and Jake, in South Holland, IL.
Jim wore many hats throughout his life and touched the hearts of many. He felt most proud to be called “Papa'' by his beloved grandchildren Jeremiah Jr., Abby, John, Carter, Ryan, Brendan and Ava. Defying any reasonable, logistical hurdle, he would attend every practice, game, meet, play, and school program with his grandchildren that he could. He would sit up close and on an aisle with a big smile while yelling words of instruction and encouragement. He would give anything for a moment with his grandchildren, happily volunteering to babysit, provide a ride, or simply just visit, talk, listen, or tell a story. Beyond his immediate family, he was lovingly called “Papa Wolf” by many. He was an excellent father and provided a lifetime of consistent positive examples. He set the bar high for his sons to work toward. His relationship with his daughters-in-law, Susie, Megan and Lindsey were so close that they easily called him “Dad,” and he thought of them as his own. He loved throwing and attending family parties and helping to host an annual family picnic. Jim was a proud older brother to his younger siblings, Margie, Mike, and Ron. They were so very important to him. He was also proud to be called “Coach Wolf” or “Big Wolf'' by all the young men and women he proudly influenced throughout 35 years as a basketball coach at St. Jude Parish School in South Holland, IL and St. Francis de Sales Catholic High School in Chicago, IL. His ability to relate to all people helped him become a beloved member of both communities. He loved spending time with family and friends at the family “Cottage” on Fisher Lake in Three Rivers, MI. In his younger years, he loved drag racing any car he had, but especially his 1967 Ford Fairlane GT and a car he shared with his good friend, a 1967 Ford Mustang. He also loved playing Chicago style 16” softball in Blue Island at Centennial Park from the early 1970s through the mid-1990s for The Warriors, Ming 10, and the Over the Hill Gang. He also was an avid bowler in Blue Island.
Like all of his relationships, Jim maintained a consistent connection with God—one that will continue through eternity.
James John Wolf Sr. was preceded in death by his father, Eugene John Wolf and his mother, Geraldine Bertha Wolf (Rickhoff). He is survived by his four sons James Jr. (Susie), Joshua (Megan), Jeremiah (Lindsey), and Jacob. James will be fondly remembered by his friend and mother of his sons, Sandra (Boele), his seven grandchildren, Jeremiah Jr., Abigail (Branham), John, Carter, Ryan, Brendan, and Ava, his sister Marjorie, his brother Michael, his brother Ronald and countless others who called him their friend.
A funeral service and burial will take place at a later date.
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