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Longtime educator, volunteer and Mundelein High School scorekeeper James Ackley will be remembered in a memorial service on Saturday.
Ackley, 82, died Dec. 19 at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville after a lifetime in Lake County. Ackley graduated from Libertyville High School, Lake Forest College and Northern Illinois University, before living in Mundelein for most of his life.
Ackley was a teacher and a principal for more than 35 years in Mundelein Elementary District 75 and River Trails Elementary District 26.
"My dad knew what it was like to be poor so he could appreciate those who have less," said Ackley's daughter Rebecca Cooley.
"He had so many people along the way in his own life who helped him, so that's why he had such a passion for giving back to the community. He taught his family how important it was to give to others."
Ackley was a scorekeeper for Mundelein High School boys basketball since the school opened in 1961. Earlier this month he was honored for his 50 years of service.
He was elected to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and the MHS Basketball Hall of Fame, and received the Mike Rose Award from the Northern Officials' Association.
In an interview with the Daily Herald in early December, Ackley said he had been struggling recently with his health, but spoke fondly of his years scorekeeping and working as an educator.
"I enjoyed every minute of it," Ackley said.
Ackley was going to retire following this season, he said.
"It was the best seat in the house, for sure," he told the Daily Herald.
Mundelein High School dedicated its game against Zion Benton last week to Ackley's memory, said Coach Richard Knar. Mundelein won 84-64.
Ackley's wife of 52 years, Shirley, died a few years ago.
He is survived by daughters Rebecca, Dawn and Kathleen and a son, Scott.
Ackley was a Korean War veteran and a member of the color guard for VFW Post 8741, and a member of the Mundelein American Legion Post 867.
Ackley also served on the Mundelein Police and Fire Commission and the River Trails Education Foundation.
Visitation will be 4-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, at Kristan Funeral Home, 219 W. Maple Ave., Mundelein. The funeral will be held there at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 29.
"My dad was probably the best role model anyone could have," Cooley said. "He had kind eyes and a welcoming smile. To know him was to be blessed."