MARQUETTE, MI. -James (Jim) Andrew Stevens Jr., entered eternal life on Mother's Day, May 11, 2014. with his wife of 53 years, Carol Stevens at his side. His health had been declining for several months, and had undergone extensive medical testing, treatment, and surgery both in the local area and at the Mayo Clinic. In his final days, the staff at the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans provided exemplary care and respect. This was of great comfort to his family.
Born in Chicago, Illinois on July 26, 1933, to James A. Stevens, Sr. and Helen Ruth (Vogt) Stevens. His early childhood was on a farm in Sac City, Iowa. The family then resided in Elgin, Illinois and he graduated from Elgin High School in June 1951.
He enlisted in the United States Air Force in September 1951 and completed technical training as an Aircraft Mechanic (43131) in May 1952. He decided to volunteer to fill a critical vacancy in Inventory Management with an assignment to Japan. He spent the remainder of his 20 years, 9 months and 3 days in this career field.
During his second enlistment he was stationed at K.I. Sawyer, AFB and met the love of his life, Carol A. (Hakala) Stevens. He married the daughter of Oliver E. Hakala and Aileen (Jokinen) (Hakala) Osterberg on August 27th, 1960 in the base chapel. During the next 12 years they had 4 children and the young family moved many times which included Marquette, Alaska, Illinois, Hawaii, and a family separation during a remote assignment to Turkey.
He was well suited for work in this career field due to his meticulous recordkeeping, attention to detail, and innovative problem solving. His assignments encompassed many challenging events - conversion of Army to Air Force Records, closure of O'Hare as an active duty base, implementing numerous technology changes, and conducting Quality Control Staff Visits in the Pacific Theater.
Civilian life began with a position for the Marquette Police Department as Presque Isle Marina Officer. He later worked for UP Office Supply as an Outside Sales Rep and his work included one of the firm's largest accounts, Marquette General Hospital. He entered another career assisting his wife (partner and owner) at Century 21 Prime Realty; as sign installer. While holding this position he installed 4445 colonial signs throughout Marquette, Delta, Baraga and Dickinson Counties.
Many people knew Jim as a "Bingo King" with a golden voice. He was the Bingo Manager at NCO Club at Wheeler AFB, Hawaii. For 7 years, he managed the American Legion Post 44 Bingo program and missed only one evening of calling Bingo at the Marquette Armory.
Jim believed in service to his community and was generous with his time and talents serving as a trustee for the Marquette County Veterans Trust Fund, board member on the City of Marquette Parks and Recreation advisory board; member of the 40 et 8 du Marquette, President of the Marquette 4th of July Corporation; distinguished member of the American Legion Post 44 in Marquette - past commander, finance officer, editor of the Legion Times; building and grounds committee, executive board, adjutant and service officer for both the Post 44 and Post 349 in Little Lake. One very notable service project he and Jim Shaw co-founded is the Adopt-A-Park program that began at Harlow Park in Marquette.
Over the years, Jim had many leisure activities like bowling, golf, and celebrations at the camp on Farmer's Lake in which friends and family were able to enjoy his wit, his sense of humor, and his love for life. He also enjoyed listening to many types of music and truly appreciated the improvements in audio visual technology. Most recently he enjoyed the music of Andrea Bocelli .
A devoted family man, Jim enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren. He expected integrity, accountability, and a strong work ethic from his children. Growing up, many fond memories were made boating, fishing, picnicking, swimming, and snorkeling.
Jim is survived by his wife of 53 years, Carol; daughters Colleen R. Stevens of Palatine, IL; Patricia L. (Bob Quinnell) Stevens of Marquette; Diane M. (Lynn) Garreau of Grand Rapids and son David J. (Daniella) Stevens of Germany; brother-in-laws Ed (Patricia) Hakala of Detroit and Dan Hakala of Costa Mesa, CA; grandchildren, Ryan Bloom, Olivia Garreau, Michelle (Stevens) Taylor, and Lisa Stevens. He was preceded in death by his parents, infant brother, mother-in-law, and father-in-law.
A memorial service/celebration of life will be held at Messiah Lutheran Church, 305 W. Magnetic St., Marquette, on Monday, May 19, 2014 with visitation starting at 12 noon, services at 2 pm, followed by lunch in Magnuson Hall at the church. Pastor David Van Kley will conduct the worship service; members of the American Legion will present Veteran Honors. All who knew Jim and/or his family are cordially invited.
In Lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be directed to the DJ Jacobetti Home for Veterans, 425 Fisher Street, Marquette, MI 49855 where a living memorial is being established in the Courtyard; please memo note checks Courtyard JS or to Messiah Lutheran Church, 305 W. Magnetic St., Marquette, MI 49855.
The Canale-Tonella Funeral Home is serving the family where condolences may be expressed online at canalefurneral.com