James R. Gerchow, age 66, extraordinary business man of Sturgis, Michigan passed away peacefully on the eve of his favorite holiday, Monday, December 24, 2012 with his wife and family at his side at the Sturgis Hospital.
He was born April 5, 1946 in Sturgis, Michigan son of the late Glenn R. and Evelyn (Ratliff) Gerchow.
Jim was a lifelong Sturgis resident a city that he took great pride in calling home and was a graduate of Sturgis High School with the class of 1964.
Jim was a true entrepreneur. His involvement in business started while he was still a student at Sturgis High School when he established Retail Outlet Sales of Precision Speed Equipment and operated the business while working at Universal Diesel Manufacturing where he was employed until 1970. He worked a short time as a prototype mold maker at Sturgis Molded Products. In 1971 he joined Bronson Products as a tool maker and quickly moved up the corporate ladder from tool maker, plant supervisor, general manager and ultimately as a part owner. From 1980 – 1996 he partnered with Bob Griffioen in the restructuring of Precision Speed Equipment into a manufacturing facility. For a short period Jim tried to retire and work only as a business consultant as J. Gerchow Consulting. Being one needing to be busy, productive and hands on, in 2003 Jim and Dan Carroll partnered to establish Precision Manufacturing Products a business endeavor he was enjoying to the present.
He was a member of the Sturgis Wesleyan Church, the National Woody Car Club, National Street Rod Association, Antique Motorcycle Association, and American Federation of Small Business.
Jim had many interests and hobbies including motocross, street rods, drag racing and going to car shows. One National Street Rod Show he was awarded a top 5 of the show with his 1937 Ford Woody he and a good friend completely restored. He was a movie buff and his keen sense of humor and wit will be missed by all that knew him. As was said Jim had many interests, hobbies and business involvements but what he truly appreciated were times he was surrounded by the family and friends he so dearly loved.
He is survived by his loving wife of 24 years: Jeannie (Lilly); two daughters: Jennifer Gerchow of Beverly Hills, California and her mother Marilee Marshal, step daughter: Marlaina (Jim) Rairick of Louisville, Kentucky; five grandchildren: Miriam, Noah, Joshua, Hannah and Lydia; Jennifer’s expected daughter in March; three sisters: Sharon (Jack) Meyers and Susan Webb both of Sturgis and Sandi Gerchow (Gregg Wagner) of Bozeman, Montana and several nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends from Noon-3:00 P.M. and 5:00-8:00 P.M. Friday at the Sturgis Wesleyan Church, 907 N. Nottawa St. in Sturgis. Funeral services celebrating the life of James R. Gerchow will be held at 10:30 A.M. Saturday at the church. The Rev. Steve Bean will officiate. A graveside committal will follow the service at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis.
The Hackman Family Funeral Homes – Hackman Chapel, 114 S. Nottawa St., Sturgis, MI 49091, 269-651-2331 is entrusted with the arrangements.
The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mr. Gerchow’s memory consider the Sturgis Salvation Army, 105 N. Fourth St., Sturgis, MI 49091.
The obituary is also at www.hackmanfamilyfuneralhome.com where personal messages of support may be left for the family.