Cover photo for James H.  Will's Obituary
James H.  Will Profile Photo
1937 James 2023

James H. Will

September 11, 1937 — March 26, 2023

Ya, it’s me!! If I were still alive you wouldn’t be reading this obituary….eh? Yes, I have given up this earthly life to bask in the Happiness of Heaven for eternity with our Lord, Jesus. I left this earthly life on March 26, 2023. I was born, James Henry Will, on Sept. 11, 1937, in Waterloo, IA, the first of 5 kids of Henry A. Will and Marie A.(Bender) Will. They blessed me with a good upbringing and education (Thanks, Ma & Pa) when they sent me to Sacred Heart School where I graduated from High School in 1955. I worked off and on with the Illinois Central Railroad for 5 years while going to college to help pay my way thru school.

After floundering through 2 years of Art schooling at Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, IA, I decided I’d do better in a more science-related occupation, so I spent the next 4 years at the U of Iowa College of Pharmacy where I graduated in 1961. During those years I met my future wife, Rosemary E. Leazer. I came to Rockford, IL after graduation to gain employment. “Rosie” & I were married August 18, 1962, in Morton Grove, IL after she graduated from U of Iowa Nursing School. I was employed at McCann Pharmacy which evolved into Village Pharmacy in Colonial Village for 25 years until the store closed in 1985. Then I helped out in many different Pharmacies and also St. Anthony Hospital, where I was working part-time until I finally retired in 2007. In 2001, Rosie developed a brain disease, and I took complete care of her for 3-1/2 years until her death in 2005. After a few months I met and became a constant loving companion of Joyce Lundberg, who I enjoyed having fun with for 13 years until her passing in 2018.

I kept my interest in art going all these years, and received an honorable mention in the Illinois State Sesquicentennial Stamp design. I also designed the logo for Rockford’s City Sanitation Dept. in the 1980s. I have also created many character and cartoon works for people. I volunteered at Midway Village demonstrating blacksmithing and old-time photography, and helped out at Womanspace with odd jobs. I canoed the Wisconsin & Mississippi Rivers 2 years with a friend and his son and also enjoyed a hot air balloon ride one fine fall day. I had many hobbies including, model railroading, living history reenacting, old-time photography, fencing, cartooning art, blacksmithing, geocaching, biking, walking, canoeing, woodworking, vacationing at our property in N. Wisconsin, having fun with “Iggy”, a full-scale dummy that I created, and generally just goofing around. (A putterer of lots, but master of nothin’).

My parents, my wife and my companion, Joyce, and sister-in-law, Mary (Shannon) Will of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and nephew, Matthew Caughron of Waterloo, IA have all preceded me in death.

Family survivors include son Michael (Kathy) Will of Muscatine, IA, daughter Patricia (Jude) Lai of Rockford, grandkids, Jacob (Danielle) Will, Lucas (Heather) Will of Des Moines, IA, and Emma (Marius) Lai of Madison, WI, great-grandkids, Mya & Max (Papa loves you all), brothers John Will of Calgary Alberta, Canada, Joseph (Mary) Will of Acton, MA, David Will of Waterloo, IA, and sister, Jean (Cliff) Caughron of Waterloo, IA. Also many cousins, nieces & nephews (of the Ol’ Family Tree).

I want to deeply thank all you souls who entered my life and made it so meaningful and enjoyable. Especially my parents, my “sweetie” wife, Rosie (I couldn’t have done it without you), our kids Mike & Pat and their children Jake, Luke & Emma, all my co-workers at Village Pharmacy and St. Anthony Medical Center, all my friends in Camp Fuller (especially Camp Fuller Field Music), fellow Blacksmiths in Rockford Blacksmith Guild, the clan at “Ye old Haggis Shoppe”, those good friends in our Jubilee Community Group, special friends, Gerry & Tammy Weber….and my pretty and loving companion, Joyce.

My visitation will take place on Monday, April 3rd, 2023, from 5:00 pm until 7:00 p.m. at Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory – Mulford Chapel, 1860 S. Mulford Road, Rockford, IL 61108. Visitation will continue on Tuesday, April 4th at 10:00 am until time of Mass at 11:00 am at St Rita Catholic Church, 6254 Valley Knoll Drive, Rockford, IL 61109. Entombment will be at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Winnebago IL. In lieu of flowers, memorials in my name may be made to St. Vincent de Paul St. Rita Conference, OSF HealthCare Foundation (Hospice), or Womanspace.  Fitzgerald Funeral Home and Crematory – Mulford Chapel assisted the family. Share online condolences and memories at 

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, April 4, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Calvary Catholic Cemetery Mausoleum

8616 West State Road, Winnebago, IL 61088

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