Jeffrey Gene Givens died June 24, 2021, at 4:29 pm at his home surrounded by his wife, daughters, and his beloved Westie, Holly.
I was born at OSF Saint Francis Hospital in Peoria, IL, on April 22, 1945, the first son of Homer (Al) Givens and Bertha L. (Kickel) Givens.
I attended Princeville schools and graduated in 1963 with a desire to serve my country, but after three failed attempts due to medical reasons, I could not. I followed my Dad into the business he started, Givens Machine Co. Inc., and served as a worker, partner, and owner for 43 years, retiring in 2006.
I always had a burning desire for nature and history. Later, when Earth Day was established, they made it April 22 my birthday. I was a member of several plant and animal societies, mostly natural plants of Illinois, and I helped create several natural prairies in central Illinois.
I studied my family history and had memberships in the Sons of the American Revolution, the Sons of the War of 1812, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the Sons of Confederate veterans, and was the first Camp Commander of the Post of Sons of Union Civil War veterans in Peoria. I was a lifelong affiliate of the Masonic fraternity belonging to the Princeville #360 Lodge, achieving 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite.
Hiking camping, backpacking, mountain climbing, both technical and hiking (especially in Utah and Colorado,) bird watching, traditional archery shooting, skeet shooting, competitive pistol shooting, muzzleloading, everything involving the outdoors seemed to fascinate me.
I had been a member of the Akron-Princeville volunteer fire department and had a special Deputies Commission in the Peoria County Sheriff Department for several years.
I studied different martial arts, finally attaining a 4th-degree black belt in Japanese Wado Ryu Karate. I then taught karate for many years.
Along with my interest in history, I joined several reenactor groups and, over the years, gave talks to schools and historical groups about the Civil War times.
From my first marriage, I have been blessed with two daughters Carrie Louise Givens and Jennifer Marie (Givens) Curtis. I was able to spend many happy times with my grandchildren Olivia Ruth Combs, Taylor Marie Roberson, and Jeffrey James Curtis.
I also developed a burning desire for music, mostly older folk music. I learned to play banjo, guitar and was fortunate to obtain my grandfather Ellis Givens' "fiddle," got it put back together, and at 73 years of age, learned how to play.
It was because of my banjo lessons from Dick Applegate in the 80‘s that I met the most wonderful woman in the world who finally became my wife on March 15, 2019, Paula J. Applegate, after Dick had passed in 2010.
Preceding me in death were my parents. Surviving me is my wife Paula, sister Sally (Richard), Cloyd of Peoria, brother Erik Givens (Deb) of Princeville, IL, daughters Carrie Givens and fiance Roger Monke of Normal, IL; Jennifer (James) Curtis of Laura, IL, and three grandchildren.
Cremation rites have been accorded. There will be no visitation or funeral. Private burial will be in the Givens Family burying grounds at the McElwee Cemetery, outside Louisiana, MO. Memorials in Jeffrey's name may be made to the Illinois Native Plant Society, Grand Prairie Chapter, P.O. Box 61694, Chicago, IL 60660. Mason-White Funeral Home in Washington is assisting the family with arrangements.
To send flowers to Jeffrey's family, please visit our floral store.
Illinois Native Plant Society - Grand Prairie Chapter
P.O. Box 61694, Chicago IL 60660