Lifelong resident of Lansing, died suddenly at the age of 75 on Thursday, October 20, 2011. Born October 3, 1936, James grew up on the east side of Lansing and attended Resurrection Elementary School and High School. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree “with high honor” from Michigan State University, and graduate “with distinction” from The University of Michigan Law School, where he was awarded the prestigious “Order of the Coif.” He worked in private practice and then as Assistant Attorney General. He then served for 30 years with District Court 54-A in downtown Lansing, where he earned a reputation as a fair and conscientious Judge.
James was active in many philanthropic organizations. He devoted much of his spare time to the Resurrection St. Vincent De Paul Society. He delivered Tri-county meals with Judy, was active in the Ushers Club, and regularly donated platelets at The Red Cross. He was a member of The Knights of Columbus and The Catholic Lawyers Guild, which awarded him the St. Thomas More award in 1999. He also served in the Army Reserves, where he received an Honorable Discharge in 1967.
James was an avid tennis-player, golfer, and bridge-player. He had a great interest in the arts, and a voracious appetite for reading. He was a kind and gentle man of strong faith, whose compassion and patient counsel touched many lives. We will miss his dry sense of humor, his great empathy for others, and his inspiring kindness.
James was predeceased by his sister, Margaret Ann Wood, and his parents, James Clyde and Arilla A. Wood. He is survived by: Judy, his wife of 41 years; and their son, Steve (Monica). Also by nieces, Elizabeth (Jon) Ezzo, Rebecca (David) Levine; sister-in-law Pauline Simmons, brother-in-law Michael Simmons; cousins Lavonne (Walt) Stewart and Jim (Anna Mae) Zister and Tim (Kris) Malatinski; great nieces & nephews, Elena, Jon Carmen & Danny Ezzo and Zoe, Ava, Lilly Mae and Jonah Levine. The Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, October 25, 2011, at the Church of the Resurrection, 1505 E. Michigan Ave., with Rev. Fr. John M. Fain as Celebrant. The Rite of Committal will follow at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel on Monday from 2-4 p.m. and from 6-8 p.m. with the Rosary at 7 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to Resurrection St. Vincent dePaul Society food bank.