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Life Story / Obituary
James William Bump was born in Plainwell, Michigan on Sunday, March 26, 1939 to proud parents, Evelyn J. (Lett) Bump and Elmer D. Bump.
His parents were 10 years apart in age, and by the time WWII was concluded, his parents decided not to have any other children. His mother was devoted to his upbringing and care. As an only child, he grew up being the center of attention to his parents and grandparents, and early on, he developed his skills to entertain others.
Being a child of a serviceman led him to live in several cities during his school life: Honolulu, HI; (Green Bay), WI; Baltimore, MD; and Charlevoix, MI, before coming back to Plainwell to stay with his Maternal Grandparents so he could have a little stability the last 3 years of high school and graduate as the youngest classmate with PHS class of 1956. Having to move as much as he did, he developed skills to make friends easily. His best friends from high school continued to be his very good friends until his passing: Tony Gless, Norm Pell, and Ron Harney, chief among them.
He started out at Kalamazoo College in the study of pre-law. This was where he met his forever friend and music partner, Phil LeMense. After a year, he decided that he wanted to be a teacher and transferred to Western Michigan University. In 1960, he completed his B.A. Degree in English along with a teaching certificate from Western Michigan University.
Jim initially met his wife of 43 years, Candace Carlton, at a party at her house, after being asked to attend by her older brother, Paul, who Jim had met while at Kalamazoo College. After a whirl-wind courtship, they married in December 1961, and soon began planting their roots. They made a home in Plainwell, Michigan, and had three wonderful children: Phillip James ( 1963 ), Karen Lynn ( 1967 ), and Kathleen Marie ( 1970 ). Their family grew with spouses (Tambra Bump, Craig McCormick and Robert Lapekas) and with loving grandchildren, including Patrick McCormick, Molly McCormick, David Bump, William Bump, Garrett McCormick, and Jacob Lapekas.
Jim spent his career as an educator with Plainwell High School for 30 years. Along the way, he had taught generations of students who remember him fondly for his whimsical stories and jokes, and his ability to teach through story-telling. Students from all walks of life had always commented that he was one of their favorite teachers. Jim left a legacy of the love for knowledge with many of his students, and most especially with his own three children.
Jim also enjoyed playing music with his partner, Phil LeMense; when they began to play music professionally in 1972 as the Brothers Flynn. They enjoyed playing as “strolling minstrels,” entertaining crowds with jokes and Irish folk songs. Jim and Phil remained best friends throughout their lives, and as integral as their friendship became, their children all grew up together as “siblings,” and remain close to this day. Jim always regarded and treated David LeMense and Deborah (LeMense) LaBelle as his kids as well.
Outside of work and his music, Jim served for many years as a member of the Knights of Pythias. He even served a term as Michigan’s Grand Chancellor for the Knights of Pythias. Jim loved watching game shows to add to his vast personal inventory of trivia, and used this love for knowledge to coach the Quiz Bowl Team at PHS for many years. He had a love for music, culture and languages including French and Spanish. After retiring, Jim had decided to learn Spanish by sitting in the Spanish class of Mary Moulder, who later became his wife in 2006.
In 2005, his wife of 43 years, Candy, had passed away. Among the greatest moments of his life, was in 2006, when he married a long-time family friend, Mary Moulder. Mary has been a source of joy and fulfillment the last 11 years; traveling to Michigan in the summers, and wintering in the warmth of Arizona. They enjoyed traveling and appreciating beauty and art all around them. With this love for music, Jim served as a member of the choir for the Catalina Hills Methodist Church in Tucson for several years.
Jim became a very special member of Mary’s extended family as a beloved brother and uncle to Mary’s close family members including John (Eva) Moulder, Melanie (Doug) Kerns, Linda (Stephen) Boardman, Brittany Boardman and Michelle Boardman-Cogswell.
He will best be remembered by and for his impact on those he taught. Jim was always quick to offer a pun or a joke just to leave a person with a happy note. He was a very reasonable and kind father, who taught his children by his example, to be respectful and to be kind to others. Jim was a very loving person who had many friends, and because of the way he led his life, left this world in a better place.