James Edwin “Eddie” Donley, 76, of Liberty, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois. Eddie was born in Quincy on August 17, 1943, son of James Henry and Mary Jane Donley. He married Joyce K. Clark on Christmas Eve 1964 in her parent’s home in Quincy. They celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2014 before she passed in 2015.
Eddie started farming at a young age near Kellerville Illinois and worked for many years at Gardner Denver in Quincy. He was drafted into the US Army in 1966 and completed a tour of duty in Vietnam. He earned the rank of Sergeant E-5 and was awarded the following distinguished awards: The National Defense Service Medal, The Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal Unit Citation- First Class.
After returning home from Vietnam, Joyce and Eddie bought a farm near Liberty Illinois and continued farming. They established a farrow-to-finish hog operation and also raised cattle, corn and soybeans. Eddie had a passion for farming which he passed onto his son and grandson. He retired from farming in 2011 and transitioned the farm responsibilities to his son, Jim.
In 2015 Eddie was selected to participate in a Great River Honor Flight and asked his daughter, Julie, to be his guardian on the trip. This program takes veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honoring those who served and sacrificed for our country. On this trip, the veterans receive the appreciation and honor they should have received when they returned home from the war. It was an amazing experience.
Eddie was a member of the Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church near Liberty.
Eddie is survived by his son, James W. (Danelle) Donley of Plainville; daughter, Julie (Mark) Niemerg of Mattoon; four grandchildren: Austin Donley of Plainville; Andy, Hallie and Malea Niemerg of Mattoon; four brothers: Floyd Donley of Huntley; Don (Esther) Donley of Kankakee; Robert (Beverly) Donley of Abingdon; and Lawrence Donley of Lemont; three sisters in law: Judy (Frank) Garthaus of Decatur; Jo Seybold of Quincy; Janet Clark of Maywood, MO; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by a baby sister, Barbara; his parents; two sisters in law: Connie Donley and Nancy Donley; a brother in law: John Clark; a niece: Christina Clark; two nephews: Brad Donley and Brian Donley.
Visitation will be Friday, March 13, 2020 from 4-7 PM at Hunter Funeral Home in Mendon. Funeral service will be 10 AM on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church with Pastor Kyle Frink and Lois Sorrill officiating. Interment will be at Curless Cemetery near Loraine.
Memorials can be made to either the Great River Honor Flight or the Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church.