James Lowery Shymkus Obituary

Born to Frank and Margaret on April 5th 1939 in Chicago, he was an only child. The family moved to Crete, Illinois where he was raised. He went on to attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. In his senior year he met the love of his life, Karen.



After serving his country in the Marine Corps, he returned to Miami University and proposed to Karen. They moved to Chicago and Jim began his career in advertising as a copywriter at Leo Burnett Advertising Agency. They married in 1963 and were blessed with three children: Tracey, Marni, and Tim.

As his career blossomed, he took on major accounts from McDonald’s to United Airlines. His highlight being the “Is it Live or Is It Memorex?” commercial. He truly believed that music could break a wine glass and Ella Fitzgerald actually did! Jim ultimately became Creative Director at Leo Burnett and subsequently joined the Board of Directors. His was lucky enough to retire in his fifties and enjoy a life of travel and adventure but truly loved both the work and the company.



Throughout, Jim and Karen were active members of the Chicago Heights Drama Group performing in plays and musicals such as “No Time For Sergeants” and “The Music Man”.

As it was time to settle down again, he purchased a cottage on Paw Paw Lake in Michigan which became the gathering place for friends and family. He loved the lake and worked continuously for its preservation.

He was an avid golfer and enjoyed rounds with his friends at the Point ‘O Woods country club. He was a lifelong Bulls and Bears fan and season ticket holder for both.

He leaves behind eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren.



A celebration of his life is planned in the spring. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at www.starks-menchinger.com. Arrangements have been entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel & Cremation Services, 269-556-9450. 




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