James E. "Jim" Stephens, 69, of Aledo, died unexpectedly from a brief illness surrounded by family Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.A Celebration of Life will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at Millennium Lanes, State Highway 17, Aledo. Please wear your favorite team’s shirt or hat for the event to observe Jim's love of sports. Food will be served from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Doug’s Town and Country Restaurant in the bowling alley. Friends may continue to visit past 7:30 p.m. in the bowling alley, where Jim spent much time in the past with friends bowling and socializing.Jim was born Dec. 31, 1948, in Davenport, Iowa, to Gerald and Helen Smith Stephens. He married Barbara Whan on Feb, 14, 1970 in Milan; she died Dec. 29, 1986. He then married Beth Hofer on July 24, 1999, in Sunbeam.He graduated in 1967 from Aledo High School and in 1971 from Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. He formerly worked as a teacher at Winola School. He was the sixth-generation farmer to live on and operate the family farm in the Sunbeam section of Ohio Grove Township. The farm has been in the family since 1842. Jim enjoyed sports, especially golfing and bowling in the past. He was an avid Los Angeles Dodgers fan. He also enjoyed spending time at his home in Queen Creek, Arizona. He loved farming, his family and pets and watching movies and sports.Surviving are his wife, Beth; a daughter, Dr. Elisabeth “Lisa” (Chuck Gysi) Stephens of Aledo; a son, Jeff (Starla) Stephens of Aledo; two stepsons, Christopher Wilkin and Matt Wilkin, both of Springfield; two stepdaughters, Jennifer Bennie of Peoria and Sarah Wilkin of Queen Creek, Arizona; a sister, Judie (Ronnie) Bonynge of Andalusia; a niece, Pam (Justin) Dilly of Port Byron; an aunt, Ethel “Tommy” Greer of Aledo; two grandchildren; and 14 stepgrandchildren.In addition to his first wife and parents, a stepson, Jaron Wilkin, predeceased him.Private burial will be at Candor Cemetery in rural Seaton. Memorials may be made to either Aledo Fire Company, P.O. Box 148, Aledo, Ill. 61231-0148, or Mercer County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, P.O. Box 1, Aledo, Ill. 61231-0001. Donations also may be dropped off or mailed to the funeral home.Condolences may be left at www.speerfuneralhome.com.