James Leonard Wootton, 85, of Springfield, died at 4:35 p.m. on Thursday, October 29, 2020, at Mason City Area Nursing Home. James was born December 26, 1934, in Elizabethtown, IL, the son of James E. and Elzie Reiner Wootton.
He married Mary Lou Teegarden on June 23, 1956, in Junction, IL; she preceded him in death on April 7, 2019.
James earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, masters’ and specialist degrees from University of Illinois-Champaign, and Ed. D degree from University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. He was employed as a teacher and school administrator for 44 years. James worked as an intramural coach, elementary school teacher, head teacher, principal, and summer school administrator for 14 years at Kankakee Public Schools.
He then responded to God’s call to go overseas where he served as the headmaster of Korea Christian Academy. While serving there, he founded and was the 1st president of the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference, worked with the Korean Council of Overseas Schools, was co-founder and 1st president of East Asian Council of Overseas Schools.
James was also the Small Schools Superintendent Coordinator where he led schools to become accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
From 1979 to 1996, James worked with the Assembly for Advanced English discussions. He retired as headmaster from Taejon Christian International School in 1996.
From 1998-2000, James came out of retirement to go to China at the request of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to start an International English Language School. After leaving China, he worked as a substitute teacher for five years from 2000 – 2005.
James was a member of the Springfield Southern Baptist Church.
He was also preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Melissa Phillips; sons, Joseph and Mark Wootton; and brothers, Louis and “Cork” Wootton.
James is survived by his children, James L. (wife, Jean) Wootton, II of Cortez, CO, Pamela “Pam” (husband, Paul) Hickey of St. Charles, MO, Sherry (husband, Doug) Holliday of Greenview, and Natalie (husband, Steve) Holliday of Athens; grandchildren, James L. (wife, Marla) Wootton III, M.D., Joy Wootton, Gwendolyn Wootton, Charity and Rachel Hickey, Laura (husband, Caleb) Adams, Melinda (husband, Adam) Holler, Sarah (husband, Ray) Hingson, Jared Holliday, and Katelyn and Marybeth Holliday; ten great-grandchildren; siblings, Alma Lee Selvidge of Phoenix, AL, Shirley (husband, Walt) John of Des Plaines, IL, and Clara (husband, Nolan) Carlisle of Streamwood; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Visitation: Family will receive friends from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 13, 2020 at Butler Funeral Home—Springfield, 900 S. 6th St., Springfield. Illinois COVID-19 guidelines will be followed, requiring face coverings and limiting attendance to 25 guests at one time.
A private family ceremony will be held with burial to follow at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Those that wish to attend ceremonies virtually may do so on or after Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. by visiting https://client.tribucast.com/tcid/37469336 .
Memorial contributions may be made to the Taejon Christian International School, 77 Yongsan 2 Ro, Yuseong Gu, Daejeon, South Korea 34035 or the National Parkinson Foundation 200 SE 1st St. Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131.