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James Uphoff

February 10, 1943 — December 25, 2023

James Uphoff


James L. “Jim” Uphoff, 80, of Mattoon, IL peacefully drifted into the presence of his Heavenly Father at 8:30 A.M. on December 25, 2023, at his granddaughter’s home in Mattoon, IL.


He was born on February 10, 1943, in Mattoon, IL, the son of Vernon and Marietta (Kindel) Uphoff. Jim married his love, Sue Anne Van Etten, on June 26, 2004, in Springfield, IL.  A joyful reunion of the two occurred on the day of his departure as she passed away on October 5, 2023.


Education played a vital role in Jim’s life. He graduated from Arcola High School in 1961 before attending Michigan State University for Agriculture. Eventually, he transferred to Eastern Illinois University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in accounting.


During his early career, Jim worked alongside his father and brothers on their family farm. Together, they sold corn and soybean seed as Uphoff Bros. Seed in Arcola in the late 1960’s before transitioning to Uphoff Seeds in Charleston during the late 1970’s. After retiring from farming, Jim worked at H&R Block before taking up his passion for farming once again after marrying Sue in 2004. Together, they operated a vegetable farm in Havana, IL, specializing in growing pumpkins, tomatoes, and watermelons. Their hard work and dedication led them to supply local grocery stores with their fresh produce. Jim and Sue even entered their bountiful harvest in the Illinois State Fair competitions and were proud recipients of numerous blue ribbons. Jim had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and improvement. His intelligence shone through as he constantly sought ways to enhance farming techniques – from finding innovative ways to deliver bulk seed corn to meticulously planting 300 tomato plants using a homemade hand planter.


While his daughters were involved in 4-H, Jim served as a member of the Coles County Fair Board and was the Sheep Superintendent in the late 1970’s. He was a founding member of Clear Water Service Corporation and served on the boards of the Coles County Soil and Water Conservation District and Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative. He had been a member of the Arcola Lions Club and was a member of Walnut Grove Christian Church where he had served in leadership roles. Jim and Sue were avid St. Louis Cardinals fans. Each year, they eagerly anticipated attending the spring training sessions in Jupiter, Florida, games in the “green seats” and even a St. Louis Cardinals cruise– events that brought him great joy and excitement. They were also lovers of all things Disney. They were members of the Disney Vacation Club and found great delight in visiting Walt Disney World frequently – especially during the Epcot Garden Festival.


While Jim achieved much success in his professional life, his greatest accomplishment was his two daughters. He took immense pride in supporting them throughout their lives and never hesitated to be present at their track meets or other events in which they participated. Jim was the type of Dad who would climb off a tractor, dirt and all, to show up for his kids. This unwavering support extended to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well. Whether it was track, wrestling, football, softball, cheerleading, dance, or gymnastics – if it involved his family, Jim was all in.


He is survived by two daughters, Christina Uphoff Nees (Allan) of Ashmore, IL and Lisa Patterson (Greg) of Mattoon, IL; one brother, David Uphoff (Carole) of Chandler, AZ; two sisters-in-law, Darlene Uphoff of Charleston, IL and Sara Drew (Mike) of Morton, IL; one brother-in-law, Douglas Van Etten (Deana) of New Port Richey, FL. He was a beloved “Paka” to four grandchildren, Coartney Zimmerman (CJ) of Mt. Prospect, IL, Drew Patterson (Alex) of Sullivan, IL, Devin Patterson (Beth) of Mattoon, IL, and Jaden Patterson of Mattoon, IL; four great-granddaughters, one great grandson, and one eagerly awaited great grandson as well as several nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; one brother, Ronald V. Uphoff; and his father and mother-in-law, Doug and Alice Van Etten.


A Celebration of Jim’s life will be held from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM on Saturday, January 27, 2024, at the Warren James Winery, 5600 Lerna Rd., Mattoon, IL. Inurnment will be in the Dodge Grove Cemetery at a later date. The Edwards Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.

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