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8075 Creekside #120
Portage, MI 49024
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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew James E. Erskine would agree that he was the sort of person everyone wanted to be around. He had a great sense of humor with a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. Jim was a loving husband and father, and his devotion to his family was unmatched. He was an outdoor lover who could find happiness in even the simplest of things. Jim worked hard in everything he did, and he usually had some sort of project going on. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever cherish.
With the end of WWII in 1945, America had much to celebrate. Not only were we able to eliminate rationing, but our nation’s manufacturing was no longer needed to support the war effort. With the Great Depression of the 1930s behind us and days that were free from the perils of war, prosperity became a reality for numerous families once again. It was also during this transitional time that Ernest and Marcella Erskine were able to celebrate an exciting time in their lives as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named James E. on June 11, 1946. Raised in the family home in Vicksburg, he was one of four as he was joined in his family by his siblings, Virginia, Judy, and John. To support their family, Jim’s father worked at Globe Construction while his mother cared for the children while working various part time jobs. In many ways he was a young boy of his generation and attended local schools. His high school years found Jim at Vicksburg High School where he was known for skipping school a time or two. He developed a lifelong love for the outdoors and enjoyed spear fishing and hunting. After graduating from high school, Jim served in the Marines and was honorably discharged in 1968.
Jim's first marriage was in 1967, the same year his daughter, Shelly was born. Four years later, Stacy was born and Jim was blessed to be a father to two wonderful daughters. Throughout their childhood, he worked at General Motors to support his family. He was a loving father and on a typical day would be out hunting, fishing, or working in his garden.
New and exciting changes were in store for Jim when he met the woman who would forever hold the key to his heart. Her name was Bonnie, and his sister and brother-in-law introduced them as his brother-in-law worked with Jim. Although on their first date the fog was so thick you could hardly see, they did make it all the way to Athens to enjoy dinner at Sam’s. Jim picked her up on his old, brown truck and had to clear out the front seat so she would have a place to sit. They continued dating, and it didn’t take them long to fall deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Jim and Bonnie were married in 1995 and became a step-father to Maria and Kevin. Jim retired from General Motors in 2001 after working there for 33 years. He jumped right into the retirement life, taking on one of his favorite hobbies, fishing. He soon realized there was only so much fishing one could do and quickly sought out to find other things to fulfill his spare time. He got a part time job at Toys R Us, putting bicycles and swing sets together. After that, he decided to work at Napa Auto Parts, delivering parts.
His family appreciated that he was a great cook, and he loved grilling, too. Jim liked making things spicy, and he was especially known for his hot wings, beef jerky, smoked fish, and smoked chicken after Bonnie got him a smoker for Christmas. One of Jim's highlights was the annual pig roast that he hosted for 30 years. His love for the outdoors remained, and one of his favorite things to do was to head up North to his deer camp near the Escanaba area. Every year he and his buddies went up there to go hunting.
Throughout his life Jim was a man of many interests who liked to keep busy. He was into cars and was even part of a car club and traveled around to car shows. Jim loved being at home and just puttered around his property in his golf cart. He always had some sort of project going on, his biggest project was planning and building his two barns at home. He found excitement in trying to decide what to fill them up with. He usually liked to finish off the day with a cold beer. Jim’s love for the outdoors remained, and he loved going out fishing on his boat. For a time they enjoyed camping, and he also took great pride in taking care of his garden. When it came to music, Jim enjoyed primarily oldies, and it has been said that he collected pretty much anything.
With unending devotion to his family and friends, James Erskine touched the lives of others in such a special way. He was outgoing, personable, and someone who never met a stranger, making friends everywhere he went. Everyone loved Jim for his sense of humor, and his fun-loving personality made him the life of the party. He was kind and generous toward others as he was willing to help in ways both great and small. Deeply loved, James will be forever missed.
James E. Erskine, of Scotts, passed away on Thursday February 7, 2019. Jim’s family includes his wife: Bonnie Erskine; daughters: Shelly Hirdning and Stacy Erskine; step-children: Maria (Mick) McCallister and Kevin Bowling; granddaughter: Shelby Hirdning; step-grandchildren: Terra McCallister, Karissa McCallister, Miranda McCallister, Caden Bowling, Conner Bowling and Carson Bowling; great-granddaughter: Paisley Bunch; siblings: Virginia Schuring, Judy (Don) Hatfield, and John Erskine. Jim also leaves behind numerous close friends. Jim was preceded in death by his parents: Marcella and Ernest Erskine; brother-in-law: Robert Schuring; granddaughter: Stephanie Hirdning
A memorial service for Jim will be held on Friday, February 15th at 11am at the McCowen & Secord Life Story Family Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main, Vicksburg (269-649-1697). The family will receive friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service beginning at 10am. Jim will be buried with military honors at the Fort Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Jim’s webpage at www.mccowensecord.com where you can read his life story, sign the guestbook, and share a memory. Those who wish may make contributions to Heartland Hospice.