James P. “Jim” McGovern, 2001 Kettle Award recipient and former VP of manufacturing for Peerless Candy Co., passed away May 15. He was 75.
Born in Chicago on Sept. 29, 1946, he was the son of Richard and Edna McGovern. An obituary from DuPage Cremations reported that he graduated from Lane Tech High School and served in the U.S. Army from 1967-68 as sergeant in the 1st Infantry Division during the Vietnam War.
In 1973, he married Diane Rech in River Forest. They spent most of their married life in Wheaton, where they raised their two children, Melanie McGovern and Patrick (Diana) McGovern.
McGovern graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois. He began his career as a chemist at National Tea before moving into the candy industry. He served as plant manager for nearly 40 years for Standard Brand, Peerless Candy Company and Jelly Belly Candy Company in North Chicago.
McGovern received the Stroud Jordan Award in 1998 and the Kettle Award in 2001. He was inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame in 2004. McGovern also served as a member of the American Association of Candy Technologists and participated in PMCA and the National Confectioners Association.
McGovern’s obituary described him as friendly, caring, hard-working, faithful and well loved by his colleagues, neighbors and friends. One of his mottos was: “You can always learn something from everyone, so treat them as you want to be treated — with respect.”
McGovern’s faith was a central part of his life, and he served at Wheaton Bible Church, where he was a member and volunteered in hospitality. He also enjoyed reading, golfing and chocolate.
McGovern is survived by his wife and children; grandchildren Alex James Macaluso, Connor Matthew Parison, Maddison McGovern and Brooke McGovern; brothers Mike, Tim (Reena) and Brian (Rita) McGovern; sister Katie McGovern; sister-in-law Pat McGovern; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Dan, and sister-in-law Sue McGovern.
A memorial visitation to celebrate McGovern’s life will be held on June 1, at 10 a.m. at Wheaton Bible Church, 27w500 North Ave., West Chicago, IL. A service will follow at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Wheaton Bible Church Caring Ministry or to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601.