James “Jim” W. Sipila, Sr., age 81, of Gladstone and formerly of Eben Junction, died unexpectedly on Wednesday morning, November 8, 2022 at OSF St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba. He was born on September 21, 1941 in Marquette to the late Werner and Lydia (Wiitanen) Sipila. Jim graduated from Eben High School in 1960 and played the coronet in the band. He married Carole Leppanen on September 30, 1961 and together they raised their three children. They moved to Waukegan, IL where Jim worked for Goodyear making rubber hose. They moved back to the U.P. when he started working at the Mather B Mine in 1966. Jim then transferred to the Empire Mine and drove a Titan 220-ton truck until his retirement. He retired in 1999 after thirty-three years at the mines. While at the mines, the family lived around Marquette, and then moved to AuTrain in retirement. Jim loved hunting and fishing. When he was young, he enjoyed brook trout fishing and as he got older, he found his love of the big lake and fished lake trout and steelheads at the mouth of the rivers. Jim loved watching and cheering on the Detroit Tigers and Pistons, and he enjoyed watching Gunsmoke. Jim had a great sense of humor – heavy on the sarcasm. He had a knack for making his children laugh when they were supposed be behaving and settling down.
He is survived by his wife of sixty-one years – Carole Sipila of Gladstone; son – Jim (Marnie) Sipila, Jr. of Chatham; daughters – Tina Ravet of Gladstone and Lisa (Dan) Clark of Neenah, WI; grandchildren – Tiffany Sipila, Tyler Ravet, Troy (Bree) Washburn, and Mindi Clark; great-grandchildren – Braelyi, Waylon, and Kadence; sister-in-law – Bonnie (Fred) Frohner; nieces and nephews.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, granddaughter Kirsten, parents-in-law Ansa and Wilho "Ralli" Leppanen, sister-in-law Arlene (Leslie) Ylinen, brothers-in-law Dennis and Gary Leppanen;
Visitation will be on Friday, November 11, 2022 at Sion Lutheran Church in Chatham from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Pastor Paul Kelto will conduct Jim’s funeral at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be at Pine Grove Cemetery.