Jim Monken

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James “Jim” Dean Monken, 85, of Swansea, IL, born April 2, 1934, in Mascoutah, IL, passed away Saturday, July 27, 2019, at his residence, surrounded by his wife and family.

God bless you, Jim-Dad-Coach Monken.  You are the soul-mate to your wife, Barbara, and the ultimate father to your children, the ultimate son, big brother and uncle, a championship coach, a father-figure to so many and a genuine friend to all.  Jim connected with anyone he met, never met a stranger, and you knew where you stood with him.  Doing the small things well mattered, teach before telling, effort and honor and family and friends.  He treated all with a love, kindness and friendship that was deep, genuine and eternal.  His stories were epic, humor was uplifting, and coaching accomplishments were legendary.  He is irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind and a blessing from God.  He persevered the loss of his speech and remained as a hall of fame coach.  Even without his speech, he said more than most could ever with their voice…and never complained.  You rooted for Jim, and he rooted for you.  He is the greatest among coaches, the best friend among friends, the most amazing father, and the epitome of the devoted loving husband.  Jim is our hero.

Mr. Monken earned a bachelor’s degree from McKendree College and later earned a Master’s in Education degree from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL. He was a teacher and accomplished Football Coach, Baseball Coach, Track Coach, Basketball Coach, Athletic Director and Teacher at Assumption High School, East St. Louis, IL, then a Football Coach and Teacher at East St. Louis Lincoln High School until his retirement in 1993.

Jim had a legendary high school and college football coaching career that spanned more than four decades. Compiling 245 wins over his coaching career primarily at Assumption and Lincoln HS, he spent more than ten years on the coaching staff at his alma mater, McKendree University.  He was named to the Illinois High School Football Association Hall of Fame, to the St. Louis Metropolitan Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Belleville News Democrat Hall of Fame, the East St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame, the McKendree University Sports Hall of Fame, and was a Bob Emig Foundation Leaders in Sports Recipient.

He was a member of St. Peter’s Cathedral, a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 1028, Belleville, IL, and was a 4th Degree Knight.  He belonged to the St. Clair County Serra Club and was a member of the Loyal Order of Moose Belleville/Swansea Lodge 1221.  Jim was a member of both the Illinois and St. Clair County Retired Teachers Association.  Jim was a U. S. Army veteran, having served in the 101st Airborne division from October 18, 1956 until August 15, 1958.  An American Flag will be flown at Ft. Campbell on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in honor of PFC James D. Monken.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Omer J. and Louise J., nee Steinkoenig, Monken; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Max and Julia Yovandich; and one sister-in-law, Sue Monken.

Surviving are his wife of 55 years, Barbara Ann, nee Yovandich, Monken, whom he married on August 10, 1963;
three children, Mona E. Monken-Gwin (Shawn Gwin) of Belleville, IL, Lisa E. (Michael) Elbe of Belleville, IL, and James E. (Teri) Monken of Swansea, IL;
nine grandchildren, Lucas J. Gehrs, Leah N. Gehrs, Paige E. (Austin) Brown, Madeline S. Elbe, Kennedy K. Elbe, Taylor C. Monken, James C. Monken, Sophia C. Monken, and Rachel C. Monken;
four step-grandchildren, Josh Gwin (fiancé, Brittany Gillman), Reagan Gwin, Palmer Gwin, and Abby Gwin;
one great-grandson, Beau Austin Brown;
four brothers, Glenn Monken of Highland, IL, Robert (JoEllen) Monken of Wheaton, IL, Michael (Nancy) Monken of New Lenox, IL, William (Janet) Monken of Charleston, IL;
one sister, Julie (Arthur) Abegg of Decatur, IL;
and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Coach Jim Monken Charitable Foundation.   Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.

Visitation:  Friends may visit from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, August 2, 2019, at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Belleville, IL.

Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 3, 2019, at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Belleville, IL, with Msgr. John Myler officiating.

Entombment with military honors will be at Green Mount Catholic Cemetery Mausoleum, Belleville, IL.


15 Comments on Jim Monken

James E said : Guest Report Aug 11, 2019 at 3:38 PM

Coach Monken came to me when I was trying out for football and said "you're an artist. a lover. not a football player. go find your passion." I did, finally. Thanks coach. Rest in peace.

  • Seattle
  • WA
Gary Schneider said : Guest Report Aug 06, 2019 at 6:51 PM

My deepest sympathy to the Monken family on Jim's passing, I was fortunate to know Jim through his family (having attended Cathedral H S), playing softball with Jim and refereeing HS football. Jim will always be remembered by me as being one of the good guys. Again my deepest condolences to the entire family, Rest in peace Jim.

  • Springfield
  • IL
Darlene (Engel) Schaperkoetter said : Guest Report Aug 04, 2019 at 2:35 AM

My condolences to the Monken Family in passing of your brother, Jim.✝️???. Julie, I would like to make contact with you, but don't know if you remember me.w I was friends along with your brother, Bill at our farm in Mascoutah I am on Facebook, if possible would you ask me for a friend request on Facebook? My folks were friends with your folks years ago in the 50's. We had your dad help my folks at butchering time. Great memories with your family. Darlene

  • Mascoutah
  • IL. #62258
Werner Martin Jr. said : Guest Report Aug 02, 2019 at 8:35 PM

Heaven needed a Coach. The two a day summer practices are still on me, along with the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Thoughts and Prayers to the Monken family

  • San Antonio
  • TX
Nilufer Fries said : Guest Report Aug 02, 2019 at 3:57 PM

Jimmy, Teri, Lisa, Rachel, Sophia, & Jimmy, I am so sorry to hear about Jim. I remember always seeing Jim & Barbara at St. Peters Cathedral for many years and then at St. Teresa. Sending prayers for your family.

  • Ofallon
  • Illinois
Dick Durbin said : Guest Report Aug 01, 2019 at 8:46 PM

Coach Monken was my football coach at Assumption. Together with George Martz and Foz Ryan he would put us through the torture of practice in the August heat. Every time I looked up from that two-ton sled we pushed around the field behind the high school I would see Coach Monken standing on the sled, blowing his whistle and telling me not to be pansy (or some similar word). When I ran into Jim years later he told me of a memorable Lincoln practice when the team had to scatter at practice as the East St Louis police chased a suspect in their cars across the field. Jim was a great fellow. I’m lucky our paths crossed. Monken’s The name. Football’s the game. Still true. Dick Durbin

  • Springfield
  • Illinois
'John McAteer said : Guest Report Aug 01, 2019 at 1:21 PM

Jim was a class mate, team mate, and most recently, a coffee mate after too many intervening years. A fine fellow in all roles, and friend to everyone.

  • Greenville
  • Illinois
Kim Wilson said : Guest Report Jul 31, 2019 at 5:56 PM

Mr.Monken was a beautiful spirit, he helped my mother pass her written driver's test after I had graduated from high school. Love me some Jim Monken.

  • Alton
  • Il
Leonard Cruise said : Guest Report Jul 31, 2019 at 3:39 PM

Coach Monken changed many lives mine included. He was always encouraging me and the other players on his team to try harder and do better. He often saw things in us that we didn’t see in ourselves he told us never to give up and to always put up a good fight. He mirrored these characteristics in his own life even after he became ill he always put up a good fight . He will be missed but never forgotten to my friend and mentor God bless you Leonard Cruise

  • Swansea
  • Il
Shelby Hamilton said : Guest Report Jul 31, 2019 at 1:47 PM

Jim and I served on the Wolf Branch school board in the 70's.After board meetings Jim and I would retire to the KC club on Rt.159 and continue our discussion over a couple of beers. Fond memories. RIP my friend.

  • Swansea
  • Illiiinois
Shelby Hamilton said : Guest Report Jul 31, 2019 at 1:14 PM

Jim and I served on the Wolf Branch school board in the 70s. After board meetings Jim and I would retire to the KC club on Rt. 159 and continue our discussion over a couple of beers.Fond memories. RIP my friend..

  • Swansea
  • Illiiinois
Myra Jack- Jackson (AHS Class of 1980) said : Guest Report Jul 31, 2019 at 11:37 AM

To the Monken Family, I will always remember Coach Monken as a teacher, mentor, friend, fearless competitor, and the one on the nicest men you could ever meet. I saw him frequently around time but the last time I spoke to Coach Monken He was recovering from a stroke and helping out around his son’s car wash. That stroke never slowed him down nor harden his spirit- Priceless. My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and the entire Assumption High School Family. God Bless??

  • Belleville
  • Il
Joseph Mackin said : Guest Report Jul 31, 2019 at 11:28 AM

RIP Coach Monken. Thank you for your dedication to teaching and coaching at AHS Class of 65. Always will remember you and your T Bird. God Bless the Monken family.

  • Dunedin
  • Florida
Fred Hensler said : Guest Report Jul 31, 2019 at 11:23 AM

Mr.Monken; Coach Monken You was Firm teacher but a teacher was fair and reasonable but very kind person. You was very good. (Great) to us @ Assumption Have high School, Prayers for both your wife , Prayers to Family... RIP. Coach Monken

  • O'Fallon
  • IL.
Bruce R Cook said : Guest Report Jul 31, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Jim, I am very sorry about your father’s passing. I did not have the pleasure of meeting you father, but from what I have heard and read, he sounds like a heck of a guy and a great dad. With Sympathy Bruce R Cook

  • Belleville
  • Illinois

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