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Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, James Dent was a man of purpose who loved life. He spent his entire life in the community he loved, and although he could be a bit rough around the edges it has been said that he was really just a marshmallow on the inside. Jim was deeply devoted to his family, and he was so proud to witness his family tree blossom to include the grandchildren and great-grandchildren he treasured. Although he accomplished great things, he was a humble man who was happiest when surrounded by the ones he loved. Life will never be the same without Jim here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
As 1940 dawned in America, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII gained momentum. Although we were neutral at the start of the decade, there was growing concern over the threat to the freedoms that our nation enjoyed. It was during this time of uncertainty that Porter and Eloise Dent were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as fall began to appear on the horizon in Vicksburg, Michigan, in September of 1940. The big day finally arrived when the baby boy they named James A. drew his first breath on September 4th. He was one of four as he was joined in his family by his siblings, Gerald, Marie, and Bill. In many ways Jim was a young boy of his generation. His father worked at the papermill while his mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home. Jim attended local schools, walking to and from school every day. It has been said that he was a bit of a troublemaker while he was growing up.
There was nothing that was more near and dear to Jim’s heart than his loved ones. He was blessed to become a father to his two children, Terri and Carol, and a stepfather to Louann and Sueann. He was an active part of their lives. New and exciting changes were in store for Jim when he met the love of his life. Her name was Ardith, and they were friends who had also gone to high school together. His sister kept trying to get Ardith to come to the bowling alley where Jim was, which was in Vicksburg at the time. Finally Ardith did come, and since he always called her “Brat,” he said, “Hey brat, want to go out to breakfast?” When he confirmed that he would be paying, she agreed. From there Jim was persistent so they ended up hanging out and going out on dates fairly regularly. Eventually, they were married on November 16, 1979, marking the beginning of a new chapter in a love story that would span 39 years. To support his family, Jim worked in a variety of jobs as a delivery driver.
Throughout his life Jim was someone who was always doing something. He has been called the galloping gourmet as his cooking skills were remarkable. For a time, he had worked as a short order cook at a little restaurant in Leonidas, Michigan. Everything Jim made was pretty fantastic, but his specialties were his bean soup and chili. His fishing buddies always looked forward to his chili as he made it for them every year. Jim especially loved cookouts. He was an avid fisherman who loved going up North fishing, and some of his favorite spots were in Channing, Michigan, and also at a campground on Silver Lake. Jim also got into woodworking and made many birdhouses and feeders. He also enjoyed working on stock cars with Joe Brockway. He loved anything outdoors, really, and he also enjoyed puzzles. When it came to music Jim liked Wasepi Bluegrass Gospel Singers. When he went places, he was like a walking map as he always just knew where he was going and exactly how to get there. What Jim loved most was doing anything when he was with his family.
Described as loving, kind, and genuine, James Dent was a blessing to those around him. He worked hard, but he took the time to enjoy life along the way. Jim cherished his family above all else, and his devotion to his loved ones was easy to see. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
James A. Dent of Vicksburg, MI, passed away on January 21, 2019. Jim is survived by his loving wife, Ardith Dent; children: Terri (Jeff) Stuck, Louann (Andy) Coon, and Carol Dent; grandchildren: Justin, Danielle, Chelsea, Morgan and Zach; and several great-grandchildren. Jim was preceded in death by his parents: Porter and Eloise Dent; daughter: Sueann Howes; siblings: Gerald Dent, Marie Baker and Bill Dent. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, January 29 at 11 a.m. at McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main St. Vicksburg, MI (269-649-1697). The visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Please visit Jim’s page at www.mccowensecord.com where you can sign the guestbook, and archive a photo or share a memory. Those who wish may make contributions to Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo.