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1925 James 2015

James A. Smith

December 18, 1925 — June 6, 2015

James A. Smith, age 89, of Grand Marais and formerly of Detroit, died on Saturday morning, June 6, 2015 at the Helen Newberry Joy Hospital in Newberry. Jim was born on December 18, 1925 in Detroit to the late Harry and Erma (Biederman) Smith. He graduated from Southeastern High School in Detroit and then enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII when he was seventeen. Jim served with the 1st Battalion, 15th Marine, 6th Division. On April 1, 1945, the 6th Division took part in the invasion of Okinawa and he was wounded during the Battle of Sugar Loaf Hill. The 6th Division was then sent to Tsing Tao, China to repatriate Japanese soldiers. Jim was later awarded the Purple Heart along with other medals and ribbons and he was honorably discharged in April of 1946 at the age of twenty. Jim attended the University of Michigan and then joined the Merchant Marines. While in New Orleans, he met and fell in love with a nurse named Martha F. Wheeler. They were married on August 25, 1950 and together raised their four children. Jim worked for the City of Detroit as a surveyor and he was involved with surveying the Detroit Grand Prix. Following his retirement, Jim moved to Grand Marais where he pursued his passion of hunting and fishing. His heart was broken when the love of his life, Martha, died on August 26, 2008.

Jim is survived by his son - Stanley "Uncle Ba" Smith of Grand Marais; daughters - Sarah Smith-Loewen and her husband Donald of Grand Blanc and Alline (whom Jim lovingly called Miss Bouncy Bounce) Sulla and her husband Larry of Florida; eight grandchildren - Autumn Smith, Skye Pokoyoway, David Smith, Alex Loewen, Samantha Loewen, Sarah Ann Phillips, Kathryn Phillips, and Jacob Phillips; great-grandchildren - Ryan Wyrembelski and Emily Rowe; brother - Donald Smith and his husband Glen Llewellyn of Grosse Pointe; brother Marine - Francis McGowan of Port Hope, MI - Semper Fi. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Martha, son Douglas Smith, grandson Eric Smith, and brother Robert "Louie" Smith.

A memorial service will take place at a later date and interment will be at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan.

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