James A. “Jim” Adrian, Sr., age 75, of Maple Park, passed away Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at Delnor Hospital in Geneva with his family by his side.
He was born October 29, 1945, in Elmhurst, Illinois, the son of James and Alexandra (Leja) Adrian.
Jim lived and fulfilled his vision of the American Dream. Jim was a gifted athlete playing organized baseball as a youth, even being able to catch a line drive behind his back! Working throughout his childhood and teenage years to help support his mother, Jim delivered newspapers, worked in restaurants, and finally at Jewel food stores, working his way up to become produce manager. Despite working full time, Jim achieved perfect attendance throughout all four years of high school at Wheaton Central.
In high school, he met Renee Berry, the love of his life, marrying at age 20. Jim’s favorite hobby was working on cars—making them perform better, create more horsepower, and go faster. For eight years, Jim served the citizens of DuPage County as a deputy sheriff working as a patrolman, dispatcher, and crime lab photographer. On Oct 1st, 1971, he opened his own business, Dragway Speed Center in Downtown Wheaton, selling aftermarket performance and racing products. Enjoying his hobby as a full-time business, Jim resigned from the police force. Through hard work, dedication, and long hours, Jim was able to grow that business to support his family.
In 1979, he expanded the business, investing in equipment to offer the service of engine rebuilding. By 1982, Jim and Renee moved their business, now named Adrian Competition Engines, to West Chicago into a building the entire family pitched in to help construct. Jim’s reputation as a precision engine builder of the highest quality attracted a loyal clientele of drag and circle track racers and restoration hobbyists. In 1989, Jim purchased a bankrupt stock car racing track in Freeport, Illinois, with the vision of rebuilding it into one of the Midwest’s premier clay oval short tracks. Reopening in 1990, Jim and his family successfully operated Freeport Raceway Park for six seasons until the end of 1995. Selling the racetrack allowed Jim to continue his passion for engine building while mentoring his sons in launching their own NAPA Auto Parts stores. Jim devoted himself to caring for his mother over the last ten years of her life. Eventually, retiring from the workforce, Jim spent the last decade of his life with Renee, their children, and grandchildren.
He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years Renee (Berry); children James “Jim Jr.” (Linda) of Elburn, Joel (Allison) of Charleston, South Carolina, Jaret (Melissa) of St. Charles, and Heather (Donnie) Thomas of Campton Hills; grandchildren Alexandra, Olivia, Evan, and Tyler Adrian and Hallie and Morgan Thomas; and many other dear relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister Geraldine Archey.
A visitation for Jim will be held Saturday, October 16, 2021 from 4:00 pm until the time of his funeral service at 7:30 pm at Malone Funeral Home, 324 E. State Street (Route 38), Geneva.
Burial will be held privately at Assumption Cemetery in Wheaton.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Wounded Warriors Project, and the St Peter’s Food Pantry, Geneva Il would be appreciated.
For information, please call 630-232-8233 or visit www.malonefh.com.
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral store.