James Thomas Morrissey, 93, a current resident of the Portage Entry area of Chassell for the past 19 years, passed away on Good Friday morning at the home he so loved and shared with his wife, Arleen. He had been fighting an ongoing battle with cancer for many years.
Jim was born on October 13, 1923 in a coal mining town called Carbon Hill, Alabama. He was the son of the late Thomas Michael Morrissey and Flora May Gann.
In 1942, Jim moved to Detroit, Michigan where he began working for the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA). As the war years progressed, he went to work for General Motors Corporation. It was after the war ended that he joined the union to become an apprentice plumber. When he obtained his Master Plumbers license, he started a small plumbing business and worked from his garage. In later years, he, with the help of a couple partners, enlarged the company by working on new residential homes. About 1954, he founded a new company called Sylvan Heating and Plumbing, which eventually became an organization, which worked all over the United States, mainly for the automotive corporations.
It was in 1995, when Jim decided that he would like to permanently move to the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Since he and his wife were already spending much of the summer on the Makinen Farm, it seemed only right to permanently live in the area. Jim always said that this new home was the most beautiful home he had ever lived in, as it’s setting was magnificent. Until illness compromised his abilities, Jim prided himself on doing all the yard work, except cutting the grass. His favorite summer hobby was growing raspberries, which brought regular customers.
Jim was a member of Zion Lutheran Church and the Chassell Lions Club. For many years, he enjoyed driving queen candidates in the Strawberry Festival Parade.
Also, preceding Jim in death, were his siblings, Thomas Michael, Jr. and Hazel Florentine (Sullivan). In 1979, a daughter, Darlene Parquette was killed in an automobile accident. His second wife, Cindy Curry died in 1982. Jim also lost a grand-daughter, Diana Lynn Morrissey in 1994.
Jim is survived by his wife Arleen (Churan), whom he married in 1988. From his first marriage, Jim is survived by a son, Michael (Melody Kondrat) of Oxford, MI and a daughter Dayna of Lansing, MI. Jim has two biological grandsons’ Thomas and John, and four great grandchildren thru his son Michael. After marrying Arleen, Jim attained two step-sons, Roger (Ann) Harris, Jr. and Steven (Wendy Meyer) Harris. Thru these two sons, Jim was blessed to have five more grandchildren. Roger’s children are Sheena Rossignol, Amber (Chris) VanStraten, Autumn (Eric) VanStraten and a great grandson, Christian James, who is his namesake. Steven’s children are Logan and Nathan Harris. He will be sorely missed by all the grandchildren, who have shared so much in his life. Jim is also survived by numerous cousins still living in the southern states.
In addition to Jim’s family, Jim will be sorely missed by his good friends, James Burcar and Harold Alford. They were faithful friends to the end; calling Jim almost daily to try to cheer him up. Last, we must not forget Lane Tervo who was Jim’s youngest best friend. Lane would bring much joy and cheer when he would come to visit with his parents.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Zion Lutheran Church, Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly or an organization of your choice.
The Memorial Chapel & Plowe Funeral Homes of Chassell are assisting the family with the arrangements which will be announced at a later time.