James L. Ambruoso

September 12, 1947February 22, 2021
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James L Ambruoso Sr, 73, of Roscoe, IL, passed away February 22, 2021. He was born on September 12, 1947 in Rockford to Michael and Marie (Sciacca) Ambruoso. He was a dedicated and passionate person in all that he did. He was deeply devoted to education, racing, sports, and above all, his family. On August 12, 1967 he married the love of his life, Carole Herbig. They shared 3 children together. In 1970, he graduated from Western Illinois University with his Bachelor's Degree of Science, and went on to acquire his Masters of Education in 1996 at Saint Xavier University. Teaching was more than a career to James. His curriculum over 42 years of teaching included: technology, health, auto mechanics, woodworking, blueprint reading, and physical education just to name a few. When he wasn't teaching his students, he was coaching football, basketball, and baseball and was lovingly known as "Coach Bro". He also umpired softball games alongside his best friend Bob Nunez. James as well had a passion for car racing, and his legacy at the Rockford Speedway began when he was only 12 years old. Known as "Jimmy A", he was a recipient of the Hugh Deery Memorial Award, the Stan Burdick Memorial Award, acted as Rockford Speedway's Ambassador to NASCAR, until he was eventually inducted into Rockford Speedway's Walk of Fame. He was honored for his services as a track photographer, 5 years as the voice of Rockford Speedway, served as customer relations representative. His total employment equaling 59 years of dedication there. He loved riding his John Deere tractor, working in his workshop, playing games on the computer, pulling the slots at the casino and spending time with his family. James was a loving husband, father, grandfather and brother. He will be missed by many.

He is survived by his wife; Carole Ambruoso; children, James Ambruoso Jr, Christina (Travis) James, and Tonya (John) Frye; grandchildren, Ashley (Colin) Grover, Adam Steward, Brianna Ambruoso, Trevor Frye, and Lilly Ambruoso; brother, Carl (Steve Wells) Ambruoso; sister, Laura Callaway.

He is predeceased by his parents; Michael and Marie Ambruoso; sister, Lisa Gillespie; and granddaughter, Neala Frye.

A visitation for James is scheduled for March 5, from 5pm to 8 pm and funeral services on March 6 at 10am at Sunset Funeral Home. 8800 N. Alpine Rd., Machesney Park IL 61115. A live streamed funeral service will also be made available at approximately 10 am March 6 at

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the family.


5 March

Celebration of Life Walk Thru Visitation

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Sunset Funeral Home

8800 North Alpine Road
Machesney Park, Illinois 61115

6 March

Live Stream Funeral Service

10:00 am



James L. Ambruoso

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Steve Amidon

March 4, 2021

I played baseball and basketball with Jim. Jim was a heck of an athlete and always played with passion. He loved to smile and his enthusiasm was infectious! He was a character, unforgettable, whether on the diamond, basketball court, football field, or in the walk of life. Had some great memories as we played together in the back court for West High, going to state in 1966; and, perhaps my best sports memory of Jim, at Harlem High School, spring of 1966, Jim hit 2 prodigious home runs, in the same game, over the center field fence, both of which went through school windows! An amazing feat and I can still see Jim circling the bases with that wide grin! He loved to compete but more than that he loved people. Though I now live in British Columbia, Canada, I will never forget Jim. Clearly with his career in education, his love of people , his family, racing, etc...he had one heckuva life and impacted thousands! It was a privilege to know him and I wish the very best to his family ...what a guy! Thanks for the memories Jim!! You are ...

Ryan Ditsch

March 1, 2021

Sorry to hear about your Father, Christina!

Hannah Hove

March 1, 2021

Being part of the Kennedy News Team was a highlight of middle school for me. Mr. A was such a great teacher and mentor. He will be greatly missed.

Ken Bryant

March 1, 2021

Jim and myself taught high school students at Harlem many years ago. Its a sad loss for myself even though I have not seen him for a number of years. Greatest feelings and condolences to family and friends in his loss
God bless.

Mary Scalzitti

February 27, 2021

I was really good friends with Lisa And Laura , they were like my own cousins. So I grow up around Jim and at the speedway. But in fun Jim would always pick on me . Jim you were a kind person with a big heart . Thank you for letting me part of your family
Mary scalzitti

Chris Cleaveland

February 26, 2021

Mr. A. was/ is a great man. Everyone loved him at Kennedy Middle School. He had the morning show at KMS. Every student wanted to be in the morning show. Mr. A. was very good withe the Special Ed. Students in his class and out of his class. Mr. A. always treated everyone like he wanted to be treated. I had the pleasure of being a Para in his class and he was / is a great teacher. He had / has a lot of patience with his students. He was / is a fair person. Mr. A. You will be missed by your family, friends, and everyone. Thank you for being you. I will miss you dearly. Thank you for helping me in your class with my student/ students. Thank you very much.

Jack D

February 26, 2021

Jeff. (Turbo) Parisot

February 26, 2021

Jimmy A you were a great inspiration for me when I raced the #5 Bandit you were a great sponsor & supporter. You are gonna be missed by me, melody & boys they loved helping you this past summer at your house & you teaching them the right way to do stuff R.I.P till we see each other again my friend glad I was able to win a few races & loved you taking great pictures of me in victory lane.

Dan Walker

February 26, 2021

He was a great guy im sorry to hear this he was my friend my teacher and my football coach i will miss Jimmy A. R.I.P. My Friend you will be missed by everybody

Linda Vicencio

February 25, 2021

Carole and family, so sorry to hear about Jim’s passing. My prayers are with all of you at this difficult time. Linda Vicencio


Getting ready for school days ahead. November 1960 13 years old.


Family photo on Pierce Avenue (Left to right) Cal, Laura, Michael, Marie, Jimmy Jr. Grandma Sciacca, James, and Carole


Enjoying Christmas with his cousins.


Having fun at the Lake in Wisconsin


Jim was always a happy baby.


Jim’s school days.