James A. “Jim” Brownlee was born in Moscow, Idaho on November 23, 1938. He graduated from Rich East High School in 1955 and later earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He and his wife Elaine Umland Brownlee made their first home in Park Forest, Illinois in 1962 and remained there for 37 years to raise their family of four sons and generously contributed their time to the community they so richly loved.
Jim worked for the Panduit Corporation of Tinley Park for 38 years before he retired in 2007. During his career he led the New Products Group and was awarded 14 patents for his innovative designs.
Jim served on the Park Forest Plan Commission for many years and was later elected to the Park Forest Library Board, where his keen analytical skills proved highly beneficial. An accomplished athlete in his own right, Jim also coached Park Forest Boys baseball for many years, mentoring sportsmanship and encouraging teamwork.
Jim’s passions included cheering on the Chicago Cubs as well as his athletic sons–all Rockets just like him. He took up running with his sons when they started competing in cross county. Jim would eventually complete 17 marathons–from Big Sur to Boston, but his greatest run was the inaugural Last Marathon in Antarctica.
Jim and Elaine enjoyed 62 years of marriage. In their retirement, they moved to Minooka, IL and eventually Flossmoor, IL, where Jim enjoyed creating a beautiful garden and landscape. He was a hard working, kind man–a gentle soul with a generous heart.
Jim is survived by his wife Elaine. Also surviving are four sons, Michael Brownlee of Naples FL; Paul Brownlee (Pamela) of Park Forest, IL; Daniel Brownlee (Amy) of La Grange Park, IL; and Durk Brownlee (Kristy) of Oak Forest, IL; grandchildren: Krystine Brownlee; Ryan, Sarah, Alex, and Eric Forgue; great grandchildren: Levi Elijah and Ellie Rae.
Services will be private. The family requests that memorials be made to the Park Forest Public Library of Park Forest, IL.: (https://giv.li/l68jxv) in memory of James Brownlee.