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John Ashley McWilliams

December 2, 1936 -
March 28, 2021

John Ashley McWilliams, 84, of Urbana, died on March 28, 2021 at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana. He was born on December 2, 1936 in Urbana. He was the son of Paul H. and Mary (Spitznagel) McWilliams. He married Gail Antrim on August 12, 1978 in Champaign. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, his daughter, Kelli (…read more

John Ashley McWilliams, 84, of Urbana, died on March 28, 2021 at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana. He was born on December 2, 1936 in Urbana. He was the son of Paul H. and Mary (Spitznagel) McWilliams. He married Gail Antrim on August 12, 1978 in Champaign. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, his daughter, Kelli (Mike) Bush, son, Korey McWilliams, seven grandchildren, one great-grandson, his brother, Bill (Myra) McWilliams, sister-in-law, Pamela (Roger) Schmidt, and brother-in-law, Jim Antrim. He will also be missed by numerous dear cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by one grandson.

John graduated from Champaign High School, class of 1954. He attended the University of Illinois and served in the Army National Guard and Army Reserves.

John was co-owner and president of McWilliams Mechanical, having grown up in the family business, Paul H. McWilliams and Sons, Inc. John served as president of the Illinois Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors. He was later secretary of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Association and a Contractor Founder of the Board of Governors of the PHCC Educational Foundation.

John was an avid skier, an original member of the Champaign Ski Club. He was a long-time member of Pollywogs Association where he spent many hours on the water. John was a proud member of the Master Naturalist class of 2010 and volunteered with Allerton Allies, Kickapoo Krew, Grand Prairie Friends, and Homer Lake Forest Preserve.

Family and friends will remember John for his humor and storytelling, his love of nature and the out of doors, his curiosity and sense of adventure. He and Gail lived aboard their sailboat, Maggie, for nearly ten years exploring the US east coast, the Bahamas, Caribbean Islands, and Venezuela. He loved learning about the people and culture of the places they visited. He learned to play the steel pan in Trinidad, discovered SCUBA diving in Bonaire, taught English conversation classes in Merida, Venezuela, and made friends from around the world.

John was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. A celebration of life will occur at a later date. Memorials may be made to the PHCC Educational Foundation, phccfoundation.org/memorial, Grand Prairie Friends, grandprairiefriends.org, or an organization of the donor’s choice.

Condolences may be offered at www.morganmemorialhome.com.

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