James ‘Rico’ Synowiec

James ‘Rico’ Synowiec

James “Rico” Synowiec, 76, of Lick Creek, died suddenly on Jan. 22, 2024. James was a son, brother, uncle and friend who left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who knew him. 

He was born on Dec. 16, 1947, in Chicago, to loving parents Walter J. and Rosalie Pawlicki Synowiec.

He is survived by his devoted brother, Marion (Ann) Synowiec,  who held a special place in his heart.  In addition to the cherished memories they created together, James leaves behind three adoring nieces, Kelly Ann (Bill) Moroney, Amy Catherine Synowiec and Gayle Marie (Kevin) Peneschi, who brought immense joy and love into his life. He also was the proud Great Uncle to Chloee, Liam, Evan and Virginia.  

His mother raised both him and his brother as a single mother after the sudden passing of their father in 1959.  

James attended Lane Tech High School, college at Southern Illinois University, SIU, was drafted and honorably discharged from the Army and later earned his Master’s Degree in Sociology.  

Drawn to the quietude and simplicity of nature,  James chose to make Southern Illinois his permanent home and eventually even returned to the SIU campus to complete a fulfilling career for 20 years  as a Union painter. 

He chose to live his life surrounded by the serene beauty of the Shawnee National Forest that he so dearly cherished.  

James was a man of diverse interests and experiences. He spent his free time turkey hunting, working on the Hall farm with friends and creating lasting memories with his family.  He was a renowned turkey hunter and was featured multiple times in newspapers for his hunting skills.  

James also enjoyed traveling, making memories and friends wherever he went. James was additionally a true animal enthusiast, later in life known for  always keeping dog biscuits handy for any cherished puppy dogs  he encountered. His  beloved animal companions were never without their cherished treats. 

Known for his captivating storytelling, James had a unique talent for narrating tales in various voices, leaving his audience captivated and entertained. 

He faced life with resilience, acknowledging his past decisions but never letting them define him. James was a pillar of support for his family, always willing to lend a helping hand and fostering deep connections with friends who became his extended family.

Despite living alone within the embrace of the Shawnee National Forest, James sought the company of others while always  cherishing his solitude. Technology might have posed a challenge for him, but his ability to connect on a personal level was unparalleled. 

He was extremely fortunate to have two families that loved him. He had an immediate blood family in Chicago and his second family in Southern Illinois that knew him as Rico since 1967.  He maintained a close bond with his only brother, speaking with him weekly, and held onto the values instilled by his mother and his Polish heritage. He was proud of his family and would defend his friends beyond measure.  

In honoring the memory of James, let us celebrate a life well-lived – a life marked by love, resilience and a profound connection with nature. May his spirit find eternal peace in the vast landscapes he so dearly adored. Remembering James with a heart full of gratitude for the moments we shared. May the essence of his being linger in our hearts, guiding us toward a life filled with purpose and love.

A Celebration of Life in Southern Illinois was held at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at The Great Boars of Fire. 

Inurnment will take place at Saint Adalbert Cemetery in Niles, Illinois, on Saturday, March 30, at 11 a.m., with a Celebration of Life to follow.

Crain Funeral Home in Anna-Jonesboro is in charge of arrangements.

To view the obituary or to leave an online condolence for the family, visit www.crainsonline.com.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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