Kenneth's Story

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Kenneth Frederick James, 91, passed away Oct. 2, 2017 at Tanglewood Assisted Living in Fenton.
Ken was born on Oct. 28, 1925 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, to the late Thomas F. and Louisa C. (Crout) James. On Feb. 17, 1950, Ken married the love of his life, Elizabeth Radcliffe, at St. Paul's Cathedral in Detroit.
He served two years in the U.S. Army Air Corps before graduating from the University of Michigan's College of Engineering in 1950.
Ken spent the majority of his professional career working for General Motors in manufacturing development and was an industry-wide authority on sheet metal forming.
Ken and Bette spent 30 years of retirement in Traverse City, where he was an active member of his community. A champion of the underserved, he maintained an endowment fund with the Grand Traverse Community Foundation. He also served as a long-standing board member for the BrickWays Foundation and as a trustee and board member at First Congregational Church.
Ken loved spending time with friends and family and was an outdoor enthusiast.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 66 years, Bette; his parents; and son, Mark.
Ken is survived by his children, Barbara, of Traverse City, Marjorie (David) Strahle, of Fenton, Deborah (Pat) Jacobs, of Swartz Creek, and Carol, of Sterling Heights; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Oct. 28, at 2 p.m., at First Congregational Church.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the First Congregational Church or the BrickWays Foundation.
Published on October 8, 2017
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