James Feller Named  Grand Marshal

The Herscher Chamber of Commerce and its Labor Day Parade Committee announce that James Feller has been selected as the Grand Marshal of the 2022 Herscher Grand Labor Day Parade.

Born June 14th, 1945, James is the middle child of Gilbert and Edith Feller (Burling).  His sisters are Wanda Splear and the late Donna Denault.

James and his wife, Bonnie (Meents), recently marked their 57th wedding anniversary.  They have two children, who are both married with families, Tim and his wife Susan, Melinda and her husband Kelly Duby and 5 grandchildren, Brandon (Val), Madyson, Blaise, Delaney and Saige and 2 great grandchildren, Abbott and Taytum.

James grew up on a farm between Herscher and Buckingham, where he helped his father with farming starting at eight years of age.  He attended Buckingham Grade School for 6 years before coming to Herscher to finish grade school and graduated from Herscher High School in 1963. He played numerous sports throughout his years in school including summer leagues.  He started working for farmers in the area when he was 12 years old, bailing hay, shelling corn and walking beans, “you name it, I did it.” 

In 1960, when James was 15, he and his parents moved off the farm to Herscher and started running the Herscher Frozen Food Locker. His duties included shooting, loading and cleaning the livestock and then hanging it in the cooler for his dad to custom butcher and store for the farmer.  Working at the locker through high school at nights and on weekends, until it closed in 1967 due to changes in health department requirements, is how he earned his spending money.

One week after graduating high school James went to work in construction for Elmer Brinkman Construction.  In 1975, he started his own business, James A. Feller General Contractor, which he owned and operated until 2019.  In this time, he built custom homes and additions, remodeled homes, built several buildings for VanVoorst Lumber, roofed houses and poured concrete in the area from Wilmington to Paxton and Dwight to Kankakee.  He also built and/or added onto 3 banks, State Bank of Herscher, State Bank of Herscher – Limestone and Vermillion Valley Bank in Chatsworth along with additions to a dentist office and a doctor’s office.

James was involved in the community over the years in different capacities, from volunteering to coach his son’s baseball teams to serving four years as a Village Board Trustee.  In his younger years he played and eventually sponsored a slow pitch softball team for many years.  He was a Chamber of Commerce member for years and received the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award in 2015.  He was also a member of the Herscher Lions and served as president for one year, as well as, helping to cook for Corn Bowl, running a shift at the big stand and working the beer tent on Labor Day, and announcing the raffle at Spring Fling.