James L. LeMay
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 9:00 PM
James L. LeMay, 86, of Menominee, Mich. passed away on March 3rd, 2014, while surrounded by a loving crowd of his family and friends. He was born on September 22, 1927 in Marinette, Wis. to the late Joseph and Mary (Sauve) LeMay.
Jim grew up in Marinette, Wis. and joined the United States Army as World War II was coming to a close. Training for the anticipated invasion of Japan, Jim was then stationed in California where he was aboard a military boat that caught fire while on routine maneuvers. Though several of the crew was killed, Jim survived his injuries after spending 16 weeks in a military burn facility. Jim became a very skilled mechanic before ending his term as a proud Army Sergeant. Dad often spoke of how thankful he was for his delicious meals in the Army, while so many others complained of the food. He never took a good meal for granted and made it clear that nothing ever came for free. Returning home to Marinette from the Service in 1947, Jim worked multiple jobs while using his skills as a mechanic to repair cars on the side. One of those many jobs put him in the driver's side of a taxi cab on a snowy night in Menominee. It was there, that a fateful call for a ride led him to an awaiting fare that forever changed his life. Riding with him the rest of the night, that beautiful passenger would prove to be much more than a routine fare. Jim married Marjorie Kolberg on November 22nd, 1950 in Florence, Wis. After paying the justice of the peace and filling the cupboards of their small apartment with groceries, Jim and Marge were left with $7.00 in their pocket, and vowed to each other to live a life of prosper that neither of them had ever experienced. After transitioning to their home on 10th Street in Menominee, they soon began to quickly fill the house with loving kids. Taking full advantage of his G.I. bill scholarship, Dad became a skilled private pilot, and 1st Lieutenant with the Civil Air Patrol. He soon developed a wonderful, core group of friends at the airport that kept in close contact with him through his life. His strong will once again held true as a survivor of a violent plane crash while test flying a single engine aircraft at Twin County Airport in 1967. Mom was never a fan of his desire to fly airplanes. Her less than favorable feelings for it, nor the crash, ever deterred his will to hit the sky. Weighing his desire for an airplane or a little piece of lakefront property, Dad picked the better of the two, and sealed the fate of his flying days. In 1979, Jim chose to buy a piece of heaven for his family on Shakey Lakes. That decision proved to be one of his most important as it quickly became a focal point and destination for LeMay gatherings and events. "The Lake" reinforced the family bond, and continues to be a beautiful gift in which his friends and family are forever indebted to. Jim continued to work multiple jobs to provide a comfortable life for his family. Working as a laborer and transitioning into the maintenance department for Prescott Factory in Menominee for 16 years, Jim made a difficult career decision and took a position with Vernco in Menominee. It was there that he began studying for his electrical certification as a maintenance technician. While working full time at Vernco/Emerson, Jim started his own electrical business, working nights and weekends on residential and commercial projects. Excelling in his role at his day job, Jim soon became a supervisor of the maintenance department and would later retire as Plant Engineer of Emerson Electric Company. A well respected member of the community, Jim served as board president of the Menominee Area Credit Union and active member of the Menominee zoning board committee. While giving a memorable speech at Dad's retirement dinner, the General Manager of Operations at Emerson said, "Jim had considerable difficulty holding a job in his life... he was continually promoted to a higher position. Exactly where he needed and deserved to be."
Taking full advantage of their retirement, Jim and Marge spent their summers at "The Lake", holidays with their children and traveling to beautiful destinations around the country in the winter. Jim's early retirement years were spent with friends in Arizona before finally finding a beautiful winter home in Florida. Marge and Jim never found a winter destination that fully escaped the family invasions. Much like Shakey Lakes, the winter home immediately became a LeMay family tradition. Kids, spouses and grandchildren with sleeping bags in every corner of the house travelling 1200 miles to spend a precious winter week with Mom and Dad. Dad held a devote appreciation for fine arts and classical music. His Friday morning ventures at local garage sales often ended with him holding a couple more classical record albums. Over the years, dad accumulated a collection of thousands of records. Within that collection were many records from his favorite singer, Luciano Pavarotti. Dad fulfilled many of his dreams during his life. Most importantly, the ability to watch his children and grandchildren grow and prosper. Among those dreams, he wasn't able to fulfill one in particular. In many conversations with dad, he often said he would have loved to see Pavarotti live at the Met. Enjoy your front row seats at the opera, Dad. God speed in your Journey and watch out for streetcars along the way. We love you.
Jim is survived by his loving wife, Marjorie; three daughters: Donna (Bob) Gorenchan, Debbie (Brian) Chouinard and Diane Ravet; four sons: Jim (Mary Ann) LeMay, Jeff (Lori) LeMay, Jerry (Debbie Demille), LeMay and Rob (Julie) LeMay; 19 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; one sister, Alice Tuscan; one brother, William "Bill" LeMay and many other family members and friends. In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his daughter, Mary Louise; his son, Joel; and two brothers: Robert and Richard LeMay.
Funeral services for Jim will be held at the Cadieu-Thielen Funeral Home on Friday, March 7, 2014 at 4 p.m. Friends may call at the funeral home from 1 p.m. until the time of services. Military honors will be conducted by the Military 20 Year Club, followed by services from Chaplain Karen Anne Hanson with Heartland Hospice.
Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery in Menominee, Mich.
Jim's family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone that took care of our dad and comforted us with your prayers and acts of kindness.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.