CHARLESTON, IL – John Arthur Dively, Sr., age 83 of Charleston, and a respected school administrator and community leader, passed away on Saturday, December 10, 2011 at his home and in the loving presence of his family. Visitation for family and friends will be held Friday (December 16) from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the First Christian Church, 411 Jackson Avenue in Charleston. Services honoring and celebrating his life will be held Saturday (December 17) at 1:00 p.m. at the First Christian Church with Pastor Mike Southards officiating. It is requested that memorial gifts in his honor be made to the EIU Foundation for the John and Joyce Dively Scholarship Fund. Gifts may be left on the memorial table at the visitation or service, or mailed to the EIU Foundation at 860 Lincoln Avenue, Charleston, IL 61920.
John was born on September 24, 1928 in Paris, Illinois a son of the late James B. and Esther (Gleckler) Dively. He attended Paris public schools and, at age seventeen, joined the World War II efforts by enlisting in the United States Army. Following his service to his country, John enrolled at Eastern Illinois University, where he earned his bachelor, master’s and specialist degrees. EIU is also where he met and fell in love with Joyce Elizabeth Reynolds, his wife of fifty-six years. John and Joyce made Charleston their home and were actively involved in the community, where they raised their four children. John became a respected public school educator and civic leader, serving in many roles and earning numerous awards. Most notably, he was principal of the Charleston Jr. High School for thirty-four years, and the school’s gymnasium honorably bears his name. He served on numerous state visitation committees for the North Central Association, and his own school was one of the first junior highs in Illinois to receive accreditation. Beyond service to the public school community, John served as President of the EIU Alumni Association, was a charter member of the Coles County Historical Society, a long-time member of the Coles County Fair Board, Chairman of the Charleston Sesquicentennial Committee, President of the Charleston Civic Association and the only President of the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce to serve two terms. He also served on the Board of Directors of First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust. John was a member of First Christian Church and the Charleston Masonic Lodge #35 A.F. & A.M.
Among his many awards, John received the Charleston Outstanding Citizen Award, was honored with the EIU Distinguished Alumnus Award and was selected as a member of the EIU Centennial 100 for his significant contributions to the university in its first one hundred years.
John is survived by his loving wife Joyce; his son John and his wife, Ronda, of Effingham; his son Joe and his wife, Sheila, of Charleston, and their children, Jake and Emma; his daughter Laura Arney and her husband, Larry, of Effingham, and their children, Landon and Logan; his daughter Amy Wiesenmayer and her husband, Tom, of Elmhurst, and their children Jack, Anna and Grace; sister Helen Carpenter and husband, Bill, of Champaign; sister Margaret Davis of Washington; and sister Kathryn Seaman and her husband, Bob, of New York; brother Steve Dively and his wife, Pam, of California; brother Mike Dively of Champaign; and brother Tim Dively and his wife, Brenda, of Savoy. In addition to John’s parents, two brothers, Jim and Paul Dively preceded him in death.