In Memory

James Prill

Date of death:  April 5, 2007

Age:  69

Residence at time of death:  Racine, Wisconsin

Occupation:  Technician for Cherry Electric Company

Family:  Two children, Debbie Jackola of Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, and James Prill of Zion, Illinois; first wife Sandra preceded him in death.  His second wife Gloria survives.

Jim's life:  He was something of an "Accidental 59er."  Moving to Highland Park from rural Wisconsin with his family  in the middle of his high school years,  Jim kept falling backward in the classroom as he struggled with a weak background in elementary school which left him flailing when it came to books.   He ended up graduating with our class only because he had trouble amassing the necessary credits.  His sister Helen remembers, "He didn't fit in at Highland Park.  He was okay with math.  But he couldn't keep up with other kids on the reading assignments."  It is true that Jim had the misfortune of being a poor reader at a time when there were few programs available for students with that problem. 

And no one seemed to notice that he was a bit of a genius when it came to diagnosing and repairing problems in non-functioning electrical and mechanical equipment. 

After the hard-won graduation and a stint in the Army, Jim came back to the North Shore to take a job at the Cherry electric company in Deerfield.   Later he moved to the new plant in Waukegan.  Now that his life revolved around working with machinery -- not books -- he became a star performer.  Everyone turned to "Sam" Prill to repair anything that broke.  And he kept a sizable stock of  "junk" in his home to jury-rig a quick fix for neighbors' broken down cars, lawn mowers and appliances.  He stayed with Cherry for 38 years before retiring.  He was also a faithful volunteer at Faith Tabernacle Food Pantry in Zion.

When he died everyone said, "Sam would give you the shirt off his back and a ride to wherever you needed to go."  In short he was a person we can all be proud to call "Classmate" even though he was a bit of an "Accidental 59er."