TRAVERSE CITY, MI. - James Ivan "Jim" Wood, 75, of Traverse City, a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, good friend and mentor to many, went to be with God on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Jim passed away in the early morning at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City surrounded in love by his family.
Jim was born during the midst of the Great Depression in the Upper Peninsula on June 29,1938, in Rapid River, Michigan. As a young boy, after spending a hard winter living at a logging camp east of Munising, his family moved to Marquette where he grew up and attended Bishop Baraga High School, lettering in basketball and baseball. During his high school years, Jim left home to attend the Salvatorian Seminary in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin, where he studied to be a Catholic priest for two years until choosing a different path. After graduating high school in 1956, Jim joined the Michigan National Guard. During his stint with the Guard, he was tapped to be in the honor guard for the opening of the Mackinac Bridge, an honor he was very proud of.
Jim attended Northern Michigan University for two years before enlisting in recruit school for the Michigan State Police in 1960. Jim's service in the State Police took him to Ypsilanti, Munising, Sault Ste. Marie - where he provided service during the Detroit riots, - and finally Traverse City. It was in Traverse City that he met and married the love of his life, his beloved wife, Constance Mary "Connie" Kent. The two spent nearly 32 wonderful years together.
He was a great story-teller and loved to regale his family and friends about his days and nights on patrol with the State Police. Jim retired in 1996 after nearly 36 years of service as a Lieutenant with MSP's 7th District Emergency Management Division in Traverse City. Jim was so proud to belong to the Michigan State Police. He loved the organization, its people, and all that it stood for.
After retirement, Jim settled right in to his new role as "Mr. Mom" to Connie and his two youngest sons. He often joked that he was the only person at Kindergarten Round-up with an AARP card, but his retirement gave him plenty of time to drive around town and the state for football, basketball and baseball games, school choir and musicals, and college visits. He loved hunting with his sons, and was a human compass in the woods, often commenting that he felt at peace outdoors, and would love to come back as a woodsman. Jim was also an avid golfer and thoroughly enjoyed hitting the links with his kids and grandkids, and his friends in The Elks' golf league.
He was a self-proclaimed "singer of songs" to his kids and grandkids (even though he couldn't carry a tune in a basket) and the family "poet laureate," but he also was an incredibly kind and humble man. So humble that once after a state pistol match he told his father he had done "pretty good." His father had to learn later from someone else that "pretty good" meant winning the Governor's Trophy, the pistol competition's prize for top shooter.
Jim was a life member of the Elks Club of Traverse City, the Knights of Columbus, was active as a boy and with his kids in scouting programs, a member of the Elmwood Twp. Fire Dept. a member of the Michigan State Police Command Officers Association, and enjoyed the monthly State Police retirees breakfast. A man of deep faith, Jim was also a parishioner at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Mapleton.
He is survived by his loving family, wife, Connie, of Traverse City, his six children, son, James "Jim"of Traverse City; daughter, Wendy Stein of Baltimore, MD; son, Matthew and his wife Greta of Phoenix, AZ; daughter, Colleen Evon and her husband Tom of Aberdeen, MD; son, Kent and his wife Glenna of Traverse City; and son Steve and his wife Courtney of Traverse City; a sister Mary Trotochaud and her husband Dan of Marquette and their children Eric Trotochaud and Amy Cavanaugh; sister Mariann Stull of Marquette and her children, Kathy and Eddie; his six beloved grandchildren, Tommy Evon III (Adrian), Elissa Evon, Dakota Stein, Mackenzie Lewis-Childree, and Graeme and Brady Wood; and one great-grandchild, Sapphire Evon.
Jim was preceded in death by his father and mother, Ivan Lavant "Ike" Wood and Mary Elizabeth (LaViolette) Wood of Marquette.
Visitation with family and friends will be held on Friday, March 14, from 4-8pm at Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home, 305 Sixth St., Traverse City. A vigil service will begin at 7:30 p.m. with Deacon Rene Hoenscheid officiating. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, March 15, at 11:00am at Immaculate Conception Church, 711 Second St., Traverse City. The mass will be presided by Monseigneur Edwin Thome.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Father Fred Foundation, P. O. Box 2260, Traverse City 49685, or Mass intentions.
You are gone, Jim, but you will forever live on in our hearts. We love you now and forever.
Please share your memories of Jim with his family by way of his online guest book at reynolds-jonkhoff.com
The family is being served by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Traverse City.