John Gaines passed away peacefully at his Watseka residence Aug. 25, 2019. He was 73.

He was born Sept. 18, 1945, the son of Virgil and Evelyn (White) Gaines. John was one of seven siblings: Richard, John, Sallie, Barbara, David, Scott and Susan. The Gaines’ house on Locust Street in Watseka is fondly recalled by many. John’s parents, along with his siblings, Scott and Susan, have preceded him in passing.

John married Linda Stein on Sept. 22, 1973. He and Linda had one son, Ryan. Ryan and his wife, Megan, have three children: twin boys, Grady and Oliver, and a daughter, Molly. John loved hearing stories about his grandchildren.

He also loved sports. John was an avid fan of all things Watseka, University of Illinois, Chicago Bears and New York Yankees. His childhood idol was Mickey Mantle. He later added the Chicago Cubs to his sports love affair — successfully conceding to the influence from his wife, Linda, and son, Ryan. His fondest sports memories, however, were watching his son, Ryan, who played baseball, basketball and football in Watseka. In particular, he cherished coaching many of his youth baseball teams.

John was a voracious reader. His favorite day of the week was Sunday, when he could engross himself in five different newspapers: The Daily Journal, the News Gazette, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and The Indianapolis Star. He also frequented the Watseka Pubic Library, where he consumed volumes upon volumes of books. John could carry a conversation on nearly any topic imaginable. He was an engaging storyteller, where his unparalleled memory and quick wit were on display.

In his later years, he enjoyed going for long convertible rides with his wife, Linda. They would circumnavigate the state, looking for good shopping for Linda, and for John to continue his mastery of every highway in the state (he loved to study maps). His fascination with road transportation was influenced by his career at Iroquois Paving, where he spent more than 20 years. John was the original Google Maps.

A celebration of life will be from 10 a.m. until noon Saturday, Sept. 14, at Baier Funeral Home in Watseka.

Memorials may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Please sign his online guestbook at


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