James  Wegener
Jim "Wags" Wegener peacefully passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 8, 2019 while at home in his bed.
Jim could best be described as a loyal and passionate man. His love for his family and his country trumped everything else. Jim was an amazing husband, father and veteran.
Jim's interests were evident, as he always wore them on his sleeve. He could always be found wearing his Vietnam veteran's hat, patriotic T-shirt and coffee mug with pictures of his grandkids printed on it.
Jim graduated from St. Francis as a football hero and homecoming king. He sold cars for years, drove a school bus for TCAPS and was currently a limo driver.
Jim was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War in 1968. In his two years of service, Jim traveled the country and the world in defense of our freedoms. He served as a baker in Vietnam and a brief stint as a drill instructor at Fort Sam Houston.
Though Jim's formal service to our country ended after the Vietnam War, he continued his service through numerous veterans' organizations to include the local Vietnam Veterans' chapter, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Grand Traverse County Board of Veterans Affairs, and he was a founding member of the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition. Jim was scheduled to be the master of ceremonies for numerous events for this Veterans Day and planned to read the following thank you letter to all veterans during his speech.
"As I get a bit older each year, I have really begun to appreciate the freedoms that I have. We live in the greatest country in the world, due in part to the efforts of our armed forces who often put themselves in harm's way to protect our rights, freedoms, and our people. I just wanted to personally say to each of you that served that I really appreciate what you did to protect us all. God Bless You, and God Bless America."
Jim was always the person to have on your side. He was fiercely loyal to everyone he loved and would literally give the shirt off his back if it was needed. He was a man of quick wit and was an expert at delivering the best "one liners." He will be deeply missed.
Jim is survived by his wife, Susan Wegener (Lenhard); his daughters, Emily Opper and Amy Weisberger; his stepson, David Brouse; three brothers; two sisters; and seven grandchildren.
Jim was preceded in death by his mother, Bernadine Wegener (Michels); his father, John Wegener; and his brothers, John Jr., Robert and Joe.
A celebration of life will be held at the Traverse City American Legion, 1231 Hastings, on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m. All who knew Jim are welcome to attend to enjoy stories and good whiskey. The only request is that you wear Jim's favorite color, green, the color of money, as he would say.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Grand Traverse Veterans Coalition, 2650 Lafranier Road, Traverse City, MI 49686.
Kindly share thoughts and memories with Jim's family at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.
Published on November 13, 2019

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Showing 10 of 11 posts

Sharri Robertson-Craft
Nov 23, 2019
I'll always remember Jim with a smile- last year's speech at Elk's was eloquent and from his heart...glad I was able to enjoy his company.
Bernie wegener
Nov 21, 2019
Jim was my younger brother. I loved his one liners, and his quick wit. Always called me " Barney", which made us all laugh. He was the fun brother! We loved to listen to his tall tales. He had a lot of them to tell! We will miss you. Love Barney
Jim and Marge Roman
Nov 20, 2019
We loved Wags and will miss him. He was a very special person!
Linda Wegener
Nov 20, 2019
I remember when I first met Jim. We were double dating; l was dating his brother, Bernie. He had just returned from completing his military time. He was so much fun and full of idealistic dreams of traveling the world. He loved Australia. He couldn’t wait to return. We had such fun that night. I will remember him as he was that night! It’s a very pleasant and happy memory of Jim. He could spin a yarn , and had a great wit. We will miss him.
MIchael Roof
Nov 14, 2019
Jim was the first person I met when I moved to TC. All around great guy and a huge advocate of veterans. He helped honor alot of veterans in our area without asking for recognition.
Dana Lance
Nov 14, 2019
i will always remember Jim as i served with him as a vva member and worked with him at the Dealership , what a sad loss to the community , but a pleasure to know as a friend
Joe Meredith
Nov 13, 2019
Jim was chairman of the county’s Department of Veteran Affairs and I was the Veterans service officer. I got to know Jim well and greatly admired him. I am also a Vietnam veteran so we often talked about our service time. He also would often discuss his children and grandchildren. He was very proud of his family. I was lucky to work with Jim for all those years. I am sadden by his passing. He was a special man
Bill Moyer
Nov 13, 2019
RIP Jim, we'll see you again someday
Larry Endres
Nov 13, 2019
Jim,
My friend and comrade. Your tour of duty is now over.
Job well done! May you Rest In Peace. Amen!
Don Fochtman
Nov 13, 2019
Wags,
Thank you for your service to our country. You served proudly, and I am proud to call you a friend. I have great memories of times we spent together, even though they were 50 years ago. Rest In Peace my friend.
Don Fochtman
Mike Novak
Nov 13, 2019
Rest in peace, Jim -- classmate, teammate, friend, brother-in-arms.