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Life Story / Obituary
A hardworking man of courage, honor, and strong moral convictions, James Judge was an extraordinary person to know and love. He was never one to worry about building wealth or gaining possessions, rather, his focus was on appreciating each and every day he was given to spend with the ones he loved. James was blessed to share the majority of his life with his true love, and together they witnessed their family tree blossom to include the branches of loved ones he adored. Life will never be the same without Jim here, but his timeless legacy will be proudly carried on by those who follow in his footsteps.
Although the 1920s were some of the most prosperous days we have seen as a nation, it was a much different story during the 1930s as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, which sent the unemployment rate soaring, and countless American families lost their homes. Despite the challenges around them, James and Catherine Judge were filled with great anticipation as the cool fall breezes covered Dearborn Township, Michigan, in 1931 as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby. The big day finally arrived when the baby boy they named James Edward drew his first breath on September 20th in nearby Detroit. He was one of five children, joined in his family by his siblings, Margaret, Leo, Mike, and Joe.
In many ways, James, or Jim as he was usually known, was a young boy of his generation. To support the Judge family, his father worked at Ford and was an integral part of establishing the union while his mother was a busy wife, mother, and homemaker. Jim was always a hard worker, and he began working with a newspaper route during this formative years. He also took part in a soap box derby. He saved all of the money he earned to purchase his own Model A when he was just a young boy of 14. Jim attended local schools, graduating from Fordson High School. He later went on to take some classes at the University of Detroit.
As a young man Jim served as a Seabee in the United States Navy. Much of his four years in the military was spent building roads in Cuba and Morocco. He did get a little time for adventure, too, as the first time he ever went skiing was on the Atlas Mountains in Africa while in the Navy.
Not to be forgotten during Jim’s years as a young man was his introduction to the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Betty, and they met at the Schettenhelm farm that was owned by Betty’s uncle. Jim went there to buy milk while Betty was running around with the farm kids. They were friends for years, but their friendship blossomed into true love when Jim returned home from the military ten years after they met. Jim married his sweetheart in the mid-fifties when he was 25 in a full ceremony with family and friends. Together Jim and his wife welcomed three children including Cathy, Barney, and Tom into their hearts and home.
Life in the Judge home was always a flurry of activity. Jim built an in-ground pool in the backward for the summer, and during the winter he made an ice skating rink for the family to enjoy. Family vacations were often spent renting a cottage every summer where some of their best memories were made. To support his family, Jim worked as a civil engineer. He was known for his exemplary work effort and built several roads across Metro Detroit as well as at various airports.
Throughout his life, Jim was a man of many interests who was always on the go. He and Betty traveled so much that they made it to all 50 states, and they also traveled abroad with extensive trips to Europe and Asia. Jim had a longstanding passion for sailing. For years he owned a Hobie Cat, which is still under his ownership to this day. Jim had a lifelong love for skiing, especially when he was going through the trees with his grandchildren. Always an adventurer, he even went skiing out of a helicopter in Colorado. Biking was another interest that kept him fit. As his family and friends can attest, Jim loved fixing things. He was the one to go to if anyone had car problems as his family and friends were regulars at “Jim’s Garage.” Always wanting to remain aware of what was going on the world around him, he loved reading the newspaper.
With unending love for his family and friends, James Judge lived a life of purpose while holding his loved ones near. He worked hard, but he played hard, too, and what made his fun-filled experiences so much better was sharing them with others. Jim was a devoted husband and father, but he just may have argued that becoming a grandfather was his greatest gift. He will be deeply missed, but the memories he leaves behind will remain a lasting treasure for generations to come.
James "Jim" E. Judge died on June 8, 2015. Jim’s family includes his wife, Betty; children, Cathy (Marc) Champ, Barney (Kathy), and Tom (Tracey). Cherished grandfather of Matt (Sarah) Popovich-Judge, Andrea (Jeff) Hollandsworth, Emily, Colton, Tyler, Rory, Olivia and Colin; siblings, Mike (Nancy), Patrick Joe, and the late Margaret Duffey and Leo Judge; sister-in-law, Ruth Schettenhelm; and late brother-in-law, Bob Duffey. Jim was preceded in death by his grandson, James Giczewski. Family will receive friends Wednesday 2-9 p.m. at our Neely-Turowski Life Story Funeral Home; 30200 Five Mile Rd (between Merriman and Middlebelt). Funeral Thursday 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Interment Glen Eden Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Saint Patrick's Senior Center in Detroit or Alzheimer's Association - Greater Michigan Chapter. Sign the guest book and share memories at: www.TurowskiLifeStory.com