James Patrick (Pat) Carr, 90, of Villa Grove passed away at 10:27 a.m. surrounded by his family at Arbor Rose Memory Care, Monticello, on Monday (Jan. 18, 2021).
He was a loving son, brother, devoted husband, incredible father, amazing grandpa and great-grandpa.
Pat was born on April 26, 1930, in Paris, Ill., the son of Thomas L. Carr and Ruth Twigg Carr.
Siblings preceding him in death were Thomas L. Carr III, Mike Carr and Julia Bounds (Bill).
Surviving are his sister-in-law, Sue Carr of Danville, and brother-in-law, Jack Rhodes of Yuma, Ariz.
He married Martha May Rhodes on June 23, 1951, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Hume. Martha and Pat were blessed with 66 years of marriage until her death on Dec. 14, 2017. Pat’s enduring love for Martha was expressed through his lifelong collection of adoring poetry.
Pat’s son, Brad Carr (Debby), preceded him in death on Dec. 17, 2018. He is survived by children Belinda (John Beccue), Rick (Dina) and Brian (Dema).
Pat loved being grandpa and great-grandpa to his “grandies”: Nathan Beccue (Lexie), Cale Beccue (Kelsey), Jacob Beccue (Kaitlyn), Erin Sanford (Steven), Blain Carr (Lauren), Jennifer Neuschaefer (Frank), Caitlin McMillen (Ryan), Justin Carr (Abbi) and Jamison Carr (Ellen), and family friend, Blake Swan.
Pat has 10 great-grandsons, one great-granddaughter and another great-granddaughter on the way, Sullivan, Clark and Augustus Beccue, Reed and Quinn Sanford, Easton and Elliot Carr, Lucas Carr, Taylor Carr, Arlo McMillen and Katy Jane Beccue. And our special neighbors who have always been like family — Vicki and Larry, John and Gloria, and the Vandeventer and Rund Families.
Pat grew up in Hume and graduated in the Class of 1948. He earned his bachelor of science degree from Eastern Illinois University and master of science from the University of Illinois. He became a member of the faculty of Villa Grove schools in 1953 and enjoyed a career spanning 44 years as the district media director for Villa Grove schools.
Mr. Carr’s Library, as it was to be called, was a treasure trove of creativity and learning. Pat had an insatiable hunger for knowledge and a deep dedication to young students and staff who visited the library. Many of Pat’s educational materials were created to help kids learn. His Educational Puzzle Series of 89 puzzles included Slant-R-Straight; Phase Out; and Name Seek. Pat authored over 100 filmstrip word games, motivational word puzzle books, math puzzle sets, word trip games, drivers education learning cards, science creative visuals, and hundreds of crossword puzzles. Pat believed toys should be educational and was the developer of Approved Educational Plaything, evaluating toys and games and appearing on a local morning television show called “Sun Up” to the latest media materials for children. He created a Coal is Cool Educational Activity Book for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs and authored numerous titles highlighting unbelievable moments in sports, to name a few.
Pat Carr was as many would define: a Renaissance man. He was multitalented, an inventor, a teacher, researcher, a poet, a man of charm and humor, yet he was incredibly humble. His greatest joy came from helping other people.
He loved all the VG students, teachers and staff and considered school his second home. Pat Carr was inducted into the Villa Grove High School Hall of Fame in 1998, which he considered a great honor.
Hobbies and pastimes were numerous, including working as an author of News and Views Teamster Local 26 Newspaper and Central Illinois Cablevision Review. Pat was instrumental in helping to bring cable television to Villa Grove. Pat also loved to tape movies and educational shows to lend to family members, teachers and friends. He often would have several tape players going at once and created an incredible home film library. Pat always preferred a good western and later in his life watched many a John Wayne movie. Photography was another great hobby Pat enjoyed his whole life, often bringing his camera to record athletic events.
Pat had a sports-centric interest, first as an early jump-shot artist at Hume High School in the mid- to late-1940s. After graduation, he turned to supporting his children’s interests and participation in many sports. He was an avid VG Blue Devil booster and authored Little Okaw Valley Yearbook that gave visibility and recognition to all conference schools and players. He later became an Indiana State, Eastern Illinois, Bradley University, Parkland College, North Central and Illinois State follower of his grandchildren’s college sports success. He became a huge Larry Bird fan with the Indiana State Connection and later his Boston Celtic career. Finally, he became a VG fast-pitch softball supporter, including announcing games, authoring official tournament program management and providing concession stand funds to his many grandchildren.
The grandchildren — or as he liked to call them, “the grandies” — brought he and Martha so much happiness and joy. Holidays and family gatherings were always special times, and Pat or P.C. loved to plan games, scavenger hunts, movies and treats. Pat was a man who loved family more than anything else. He and Martha built a strong foundation of love for their children and grandchildren, complete with many memories to forever cherish.
Of the many talents of this remarkable man, his ability to express himself through poetry will be a hallmark of his legacy. Pat’s ability to touch so many lives with his words continues to bring joy to so many. Pat appreciated the character, values and gifts of people in the community and often chose to honor them with a poem. His poems were about people and written for people. He celebrated the happy and joyful parts of life: birthdays, weddings, new babies, retirements; and the sad, often-tragic lows of life: sickness and death. No one understood the journey of life more than Pat, and no one was more empathetic. He wore his humanity on his sleeve and the gentle nature of his generous and giving heart in his smile.
A special thank-you to Pat’s devoted caregivers, Lisa Shrum, Emily Berry, Heather Powell and Ashley Mauer; Arbor Rose Memory Care staff and Harbor Light Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Pat Carr Scholarship Fund, Villa Grove State Bank, Box 50, Villa Grove, IL 61956; or to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Villa Grove.
Private family services will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with the Rev. Aloysius Ndeanaefo and the Rev. Joel Phelps. Family burial will be in Hugo Cemetery.
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