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.