James I. “Jim” Montgomery, age 86, of Sturgis, passed away early Wednesday morning, Feb. 20, 2013, at Thurston Woods Village in Sturgis.
Jim was born April 27, 1926, in Montpelier, Ohio, a son of the late Arthur and Helen (Vance) Montgomery. He graduated from Montpelier High School, served in the U.S. Navy, and later attended Bowling Green University.
He is survived by his wife: Geraldine, whom he married June 27, 1948. He also leaves a son, James (Cathie) Montgomery of Elkhart, Ind.; a daughter, Kathy (Jim) Culley of San Jose, Calif.; grandsons Shannon (Jennifer) Montgomery, Ryan Montgomery and David Culley; as well as great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, Cedric, Clarence, Robert and William; and sisters Thelma and Velma.
The family will receive friends from 3-6 p.m. today, Thursday, at Hackman Family Funeral Homes — Rosenberg Chapel, 807 E. Chicago Road, Sturgis and 10-11 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Church, 1050 E. Fawn River Road in Sturgis, where funeral services celebrating the life of James I. Montgomery will begin at 11 a.m. Friday. A graveside committal will follow the service at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis.
The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mr. Montgomery’s memory consider First Baptist Church, 1050 E. Fawn River Road, Sturgis, MI 49091 or the Boy Scouts of America, 1035 W. Maple St., Kalamazoo, MI 49008.
Jim was employed by the former Brown Paper Company in Sturgis, later transferring to James River Paper Company in Kalamazoo, retiring in 1989 and returning once again to Sturgis.
He was an active member of the Grace Baptist Church in Kalamazoo and First Baptist Church in Sturgis. He loved serving the church — he led the choir, taught Sunday school, took a missions trip and helped with major building projects in both churches. He was nicknamed “Nehemiah” by his friends at Grace for his efforts.
He enjoyed golfing, fishing, camping and hiking especially as a Boy Scouts leader for more than 50 years in both Sturgis and Kalamazoo. For several years, he facilitated and led large Scout groups at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M. He received numerous scouting recognitions, earned a place in The Order of the Arrow, and in 1983 was awarded the coveted Silver Beaver Award. He was also an avid woodcarver, but in his retirement still found time to travel with his wife throughout several countries. He loved God; he loved his family and will be deeply missed.
His obituary is also at www.hackmanfamilyfuneralhome.com, where personal messages of support may be left for the family.