James L. Booker Jr.

James (Jimi) Leonard Booker Jr., was born on September 21, 1960 to his lovely parents James and Clarice Booker in Waukegan, Illinois. He was the youngest son of 18 children, including 3 brothers and 14 sisters. Jimi would always cherish his childhood memories going fishing and traveling to Mississippi with his father in the summer to visit family. His father never met a stranger and as an adult, Jimi would continue that legacy of treating everyone he met with kindness and as a friend. Jimi learned the love of cooking early on from his mom and continued those recipes in the Booker household. His neighborhood friends growing up called him Brick, a man of tall stature, big heart and an immense mind – full of wisdom and grace.

Jimi, a Saluki for life, attended Southern lllinois University and graduated with college honors with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. Jimi continued on to pursue his life passion as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and used his degree to help his patients heal from substance absence and mental illness. It’s no wonder that Jimi’s heart of gold allowed him to connect with people from all walks of life. He had the compassion of an angel and the wise perspective of a Sage.

Jimi was known as “Big Jim” on campus and it was at SIU that he met his best friend and love of his life, LaTonia. He also met quite a few lifelong friends on campus that he would go on to share family memories, vacations and life celebrations. Big Jim was loved by many of his fellow Salukis, people referred to him as a Father figure on campus. He cooked dinners, mentored and instilled hope and encouragement to those who needed the guidance. He was an avid book reader and a music enthusiast who loved all genres of music and everyone knew it.

Jimi and Tonia met in 1985 and later married in 1998. They had 4 beautiful children Stephen (Erica), JeMe’, James III and Trinity also known as The Bookercrew. Jimi was a loving father that believed in quality family time spent. All of the Booker children learned golf at an early age, as he taught them the core values of patience, focus, resilience, integrity, drive and determination on and off the golf course. He was the backbone of the family and demonstrated principles of unwavering faith through example as he battled kidney disease without complaining. He never backed down from life and stayed engaged as a very involved father hosting family dinners, family game night (trivia master) and a doting grandpa to both Cylen and Ca’Mya who were his heart and soul! He brought life, light and love to everyone that had the honor of calling him friend. He was a life force like no other and his legacy will live on as we aspire to be a fraction of the man he was here on earth.

James leaves to cherish his memories his family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, James & Clarice Booker, aunt Ethel Waterson, Uncles Eugene & Fred Morris, nephews, Fredrick Gipson, Roderick Richardson, and nieces, Selena Richardson and Laverne O’Bryant.

Private services Visitation 1:00 PM and Memorial Service 2:00 PM Friday, July 3, 2020 at MARLAN J. GARY FUNERAL HOME, THE CHAPEL OF PEACE EAST, 5456 E. Livingston Ave.

A mask is mandatory.

Online Obituary Donation in memory of James L. Booker Jr.

Condolence Messages

  1. We were saddened to learn about your family loss.
    Continue to rely on God and know that he hears your prayers, because he cares for you. Thinking of you all.

  2. Jimi you will be surely missed.

  3. Adriane Hutchinson

    TO: Family of Jimi Booker (Latonia, Children, Grandchildren, and Family)

    FROM: Hutchinson Family (Fred, Adriane, and Jade)

    Proverbs 20:7 New King James Version (NKJV)
    7 The righteous man walks in his integrity;
    His children are blessed after him.

    Jimi has made it home to receive his heavenly reward but leaves his treasured family to carry on his legacy. May the comfort and peace of God surround you during this time. Your friends and family are here for you with prayers and other acts of love to sustain you.

    We honor Jimi’s will for life and the impression he made serving others. He will be missed but not forgotten. Love and God Bless You!

  4. Thank you, Jimi, for being a great co-worker, and friend. God bless you and your family.

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