Apr 12th 1936 - Jul 22nd 2012
James Geddert was a no frills sort of man who was a firm believer that anything worth doing was worth doing right. He lived a life filled with hard work and carried himself with honor, strength, and goodwill toward those around him. A lifelong resident of the Alpena area, Jim watched his family grow to include grandchildren and great-grandchildren who made him so very proud. With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Jim made the most of the days he was given while making priceless memories with those he cherished most.
The 1930s brought us some of the most trying days we have ever seen as a nation due to the unrelenting grip of the Great Depression. Countless Americans found themselves without work, which led to many of these families losing their homes as well. To make matters worse, there was a crippling drought in our nation’s heartland that put added strain on an already weakened agricultural industry. Despite the hardship around them, a young couple was able to shift their focus to a joyous occasion in their own lives as they eagerly awaited the birth of their new baby as the promise of spring dawned on the horizon in 1936. Their wait was over on April 12th when the baby boy they named James Robert drew his first breath in Bay City, Michigan. He was one of four children born to his parents, Robert and Rufilia (Manor) Geddert, and was raised in the family home in Ossineke, a small village to the south of Alpena. Jim’s father worked as a fisherman while his mother was a busy housewife.
For the most part Jim experienced an upbringing that was reflective of his generation. As the trials of the thirties gave way to the forties he witnessed firsthand a country deeply embedded in the throes of war with WWII during the early forties. Numerous young people served overseas while those who remained stateside became all too familiar with rationing on common goods such as flour, sugar, coffee, and rubber. Our nation celebrated the war’s end in 1945 while Jim continued to grow into the young man who was known and loved by many.
Life was forever changed for Jim when he met the young girl with whom he would spend the best years of his life. Her name was Sarah Johnson, and after dating for a time the couple found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to build a life together Jim and his sweetheart were married on September 28, 1957. Together they were blessed with three daughters, Lorrie, Jeanne, and Lisa.
In order to support his family Jim worked as a mason and stone contractor for 50 years. His work was exemplary, and he was the last of a dying breed of stone masons. Through the years his work including many buildings in the community he called home throughout his life.
Although his work kept him busy, Jim made plenty of time to enjoy the things he loved. He had a lifelong passion for restoring and tinkering with antique tractors and old equipment. Jim also liked sharing his love with others and became a founding member of the Alpena Antique Tractor Show. An avid outdoorsman, he loved hunting and fishing, often with his beloved Old Milwaukee beer nearby. Spending time with his family was also a favorite. Some of their most cherished memories were spent camping.
His journey was not without times of great challenge for Jim. He was deeply saddened with the death of his wife on January 27, 2010, after 52 years of marriage. During his sunset years Jim faced a long battle with cancer from which he was unable to recover.
James Geddert was a remarkable man who lived life to the fullest each day. He was quiet and reserved by nature, and he never let anything ruffle his feathers. Jim was well known in his community and a reputable skilled craftsman whose work is featured all throughout the Alpena community. The memories he leaves behind will be treasured by those he leaves behind.
James “Jim” Robert Geddert of Alpena died Sunday, July 22, 2012, at home. Jim’s family includes his daughters, Lorrie (Jon) Kelley of Alpena, Jeanne of Nokomis, FL, Lisa of Alpena; five grandchildren, Wesley and Gerard Kelley, Nichole, Marlena and Casey Parent; six great-grandchildren; and brother, Emery of Nokomis, FL. Jim was preceded in death by his wife, granddaughter, parents, sister, and brother. Jim Geddert is at McWilliams Funeral Home – Alpena where friends may call on Tuesday from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The funeral service will be on Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at 11:00 am at Immanuel Lutheran Church with Rev. Dr. William Morris officiating. Interment will be at Sanborn Township Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice. Please visit Jim’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you may share a memory or sign the on-line guest book.