Life Story / Obituary
With heavy hearts we announce the passing of James Robert Croll, age 61,
resident of East Tawas, Michigan. James passed away suddenly at his shop in
Canton, Michigan on January 11, 2021.
Son of Suzanne Ziske Andres and Henry Croll, Jim was born in Detroit Michigan on
January 16, 1960. Jim was the much loved brother of John (Dawn) Croll, Nancy
Johnson, Tom (Linda) Croll, and Katy (Darrell) Reynolds.
Jim was the favorite Uncle to Adam, Sarah, Katie, Robin, Allison, Ryan, C.J., Kelley,
Amy, Nate, Mary, Becky and Jason.
Jim graduated from Riverside High School in 1978, and though he didn’t formally
attend college or trade school, he started honing his natural talent and skills as a
mechanic, builder, welder and innovator on Berwyn Avenue in the family garage.
Jim’s main mentor was his “Grandpa Ziske”, who also had a long history of
innovation and design.
James worked for Brasco as a welder and designer, but went on to form his own
companies, JRC Fabricating and JRCLIGHTHOUSE.COM. During his career, he
designed and built many structures, mostly of steel, including; bus shelters, stairs
and scaffolding, cages for high speed automotive testing, as well as many one of a
kind designs to fill his customer’s needs. But his true call was creating lighthouses.
The legacy he left behind will certainly be the lighthouses he designed and built.
These structures are pieces of history and art, and are placed on waterways at
locations all across the continental United States. They range from 12 feet to 40
feet high, are 19 th century inspired and are all architecturally authentic. Jim
designed, built and transported most of these working alone, though he often
called upon his brother-in-law and friend Darrell for help.
Jim’s cabin located in East Tawas was a family gathering place, where everyone
could enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of the woods, the sand dunes and Lake
Jim immersed himself into the long family history of the area, including that of his
Great-Grandfather who was an avid sailor, and served in the Coast Guard
stationed at the Tawas Lighthouse.
He followed current events, was always up for debating politics, conspiracy theory
and any subject that interested him. He could be found on his boat on Tawas Bay
when he had the chance, enjoying the sunset and peaceful beauty.
He will be missed greatly by his family and friends.