Vigen Memorial Home obituary – James R. Lovell, 89, Keokuk

James R. "Sonny" Lovell, 89, of Keokuk died Monday, Aug. 24, 2020

James R. “Sonny” Lovell, 89, of Keokuk, died Monday, August 24, 2020 at the Montrose Health Center in Montrose, IA.
He was born on February 13, 1931 in Keokuk, IA, the son of Orville and Marie Haskins Lovell. At the age of 13, he found a job washing dishes at Brazels Lunch. He had to stand on a box to reach the counter, and that is where he acquired the name “Sonny” that lasted the rest of his life.
Sonny married Sylvia Ferguson in 1950 and they divorced in 1955. On June 1, 1962 Sonny was united in marriage to Phyllis Parks in Hamilton, IL. They spent over fifty years together until her death on July 21, 2013.
Sonny was a self-taught painter. He owned and operated Jim Lovell Decorating in Keokuk for fifty-five years and was very respected in the area. There are very few homes on Grand Avenue or banks on Main Street that do not have the stroke of his brush on their walls. He was a very meticulous man. He always cleaned and vacuumed before leaving a job and left everything in immaculate condition. Owners would say you could not tell there was anything being done to their homes except for the new paint on the walls.
He was a faithful member of Crossview Fellowship in Keokuk and enjoyed attending services and fellowshipping with the people. He was the commodore of the Keokuk Yacht Club for thirteen years and during his tenure many improvements were made. He was also a member of the Painter’s Union.
Sonny loved being out on the water, and once won a bass boat in a fishing tournament with his son David. During his younger years he raced boats on the lake above the dam. Sonny was a very giving man, who cared less of himself and loved seeing others receive. He loved his yard and flowers and once his yard was on the Garden Club tour. He was very proud of that.
Sonny could tell you stories of his life that would make you laugh until you cried, most of the time not cracking a smile while talking.
Sonny is survived by two daughters, Julie Gleason and her husband Steve of Hiawassee, GA, Peggy Seigleburg and her husband Jim of Omaha, NE, eight grandchildren, twenty-five great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren. He is also survived by one sister, Janice Prindle of Keokuk, two brothers, Terry Lovell and his wife Ethel and Gary Lovell and his wife Carol all of Keokuk and several nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by those who loved him.
Besides his wife, he was also preceded in death by his parents, one son, David Lovell on July 26, 2019, two brothers, Paul Lovell and Kenny Lovell, three sisters, Maxine Wardlow, Lucille Dawson and one in infancy.
According to his wishes, there will be no visitation or service. If you want to honor Sonny, please be kind to your fellow man and always be honest.
The Vigen Memorial Home in Keokuk is assisting the family with arrangements.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at

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