Geneva businessman, outdoorsman found dead in golf course creek

  • John A. Gaines, 74, of Geneva, is being remembered as a businessman, outdoorsman and husband of Jean Gaines, the president of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.

    John A. Gaines, 74, of Geneva, is being remembered as a businessman, outdoorsman and husband of Jean Gaines, the president of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce. Courtesy of Kristine Holtz

  • Geneva police wait for the coroner to arrive after the body of a man was found Friday in the creek near the 6th hole at the Geneva Golf Club. He was identified as John A. Gaines of Geneva.

    Geneva police wait for the coroner to arrive after the body of a man was found Friday in the creek near the 6th hole at the Geneva Golf Club. He was identified as John A. Gaines of Geneva. Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva police officer Mark Russo photographs the creek at Geneva Golf Club, where the body of John A. Gaines of Geneva was found Friday.

    Geneva police officer Mark Russo photographs the creek at Geneva Golf Club, where the body of John A. Gaines of Geneva was found Friday. Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva police wait for the coroner to arrive after the body of John A. Gaines of Geneva was found Friday in the creek near the 6th hole at the Geneva Golf Club.

    Geneva police wait for the coroner to arrive after the body of John A. Gaines of Geneva was found Friday in the creek near the 6th hole at the Geneva Golf Club. Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/27/2014 7:47 AM

John Gaines originally intended to visit the gym Friday but decided it was too nice of a day.

So he decided to take advantage of another chance to spend some time around one of his favorite places -- the golf course, his daughter said.

 

Kristine Holtz said Gaines grabbed one club and took it around the course at the Geneva Golf Club.

"He was healthy and happy when he left the house," Holtz said, who said he had plans with his wife later and also had plans the day after to go bird hunting with a friend.

What happened afterward is still being determined by authorities.

Geneva police said the body of Gaines, 74 -- businessman, outdoorsman and husband of Jean Gaines, the president of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce -- was found Friday afternoon in a creek on the golf course.

Police were called about 1:45 p.m. for a report of a person lying face down in the creek near the 6th hole of the golf club, on the block of 800 South Street, Cmdr. Julie Nash said.

Geneva Fire Department and Delnor Community Hospital personnel were contacted; Gaines was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:50 p.m., Nash said.

"Though there is currently nothing to indicate foul play and/or criminal activity, the Geneva Police Department will continue to investigate the circumstances of this case until a cause of death has been determined by the Kane County coroner's office," Nash said.

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Gaines' daughter said that although the cause is still being determined, speculation is that he lost his balance and hit his head.

Holtz said he had retired as owner of Corporate Design, an office construction and remodeling business. He grew up in Ludington, Michigan, and attended Western Michigan University.

He met his eventual wife when he was 14. They were married in 1960.

After living in Kalamazoo and Traverse City, Michigan, they settled in Geneva.

"He was devoted to my mother. It was absolutely a love story to the end," Holtz said.

Holtz said Gaines was an avid outdoorsman and golfer. She said he was a proficient fly fisherman and loved to hunt birds.

Holtz called her father "very much the patriarch and leader of our family, our compass."

In addition to his daughter and son-in-law Jerry Holtz, Gaines had a son, Marc, who is engaged to Debbie Lightheart, and two grandchildren, John "Jack" Holtz and Luke Holtz, his daughter said.

Holtz said he was an especially devoted grandfather and attended almost every sporting event of her children.

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