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James Kenneth Urban

January 29, 1943 - April 20, 2024
Livonia, MI



Wednesday, April 24, 2024
3:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Turowski Life Story Funeral Homes
Livonia, West of Middlebelt
30200 Five Mile Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
(734) 525-9020
Driving Directions


Thursday, April 25, 2024
11:00 AM EDT
Turowski Life Story Funeral Homes
Livonia, West of Middlebelt
30200 Five Mile Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
(734) 525-9020

*Instate 10AM

Driving Directions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Livonia Fire Department
14910 Farmington Road
Livonia, MI 48154

The Senior Alliance
5454 Venoy Road
Wayne, MI 48184

*Please note "Transportation Department" in the memo field

Les Cheneaux Islands Fireman’s Auxiliary
113 West Kromiller Road
Cedarville, MI 49719

Life Story / Obituary


James Kenneth Urban of Livonia, Michigan, passed away in the early hours of April 20, 2024, ending his illness and allowing him to join his beloved wife Beverly, who preceded him in June of 2022. Smart, funny, kind, generous, loyal, and honorable, Jim will be greatly missed by his family and many friends both in his hometown of Livonia and Cedarville, Michigan, where he enjoyed over 40 joy-filled years on the water and in the woods of the Les Cheneaux Islands.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, on January 29, 1943, to first-generation Polish parents, Jim grew up with strong Polish traditions that he enjoyed throughout his entire life. From the very start, Jim had a gentle soul. He loved and was loved by animals of all kinds, especially dogs, and he loved nature and spending time at his mother’s cottage in central Michigan. From an early age, Jim also loved collecting. His love for collecting stamps developed into a lifelong passion for finding and selling antiques and collectibles. He grew to become well-known as an expert in antiques, especially fishing lures.

After graduating from Bentley High School in Livonia, Michigan, with the class of 1962, Jim furthered his education at Schoolcraft College. His Liberal Arts studies focused on coursework in mathematics and physics. His first job was at Frank’s Nursery store, where he enjoyed working with a group of good friends. He diligently saved for his cherished green Corvette, in which he often cruised around Livonia and to his favorite hangout, the Big Boy Drive-In. Jim traveled with friends for a time and lived as a self-proclaimed “beach bum” in Hawaii. He and his friends rented a small space on the beach from a local woman, and he enjoyed much freedom and fun. When he returned to Livonia, he found work at Kroger Bakery and often told stories about how much he enjoyed the pastries.

In 1967, Jim joined the United States Army and served in the Vietnam War in the First Air Cavalry Division until 1969. Upon his safe return from Vietnam, he joined the Livonia Fire Department in 1970, where he proudly worked until 1996, when he retired as Captain. Jim loved telling stories about his years of service as a firefighter for the City of Livonia, including delivering a baby. He was well-known for his cooking, and his famous prime rib recipe is still on the wall at the Livonia fire station.

Jim’s life changed course when he met his future wife, Beverly, her daughter, Doris “Sissy,” and her future husband, Eric; and her three sons, Kenny, Jimmy, and John, in 1974. Having been introduced by mutual friends, Jim and Beverly shared an immediate connection and quickly discovered many common interests. A romantic at heart, Jim proposed to Beverly at her father’s home on Christmas Eve in front of the entire family. With much joy, the happy couple joined in marriage, and by 1975, their daughter, Michelle, was born.

In 1979, Jim and Beverly moved into their forever family home in Livonia. He and Beverly shared a beautiful marriage rooted in mutual love, respect, and easy companionship. They both loved gardening and enjoyed cultivating and caring for a large garden at their home. Jim’s gardening success was once celebrated in a Detroit Free Press article about him growing an exceptionally large pumpkin. Jim and Beverly loved nothing more than fishing and hosting family, first at a cottage they rented from a resort, then later at their own home in Cedarville, which they bought in 1993.

As parents, Jim and Beverly instilled in their children the value of strong relationships with family and facing life’s struggles with courage. They shared a philosophy that while there will always be bumps in the road, it is in how those challenges are handled that one’s character is defined. Together, they modeled for their children a strong marriage where love always prevailed despite any ups and downs.

Jim was grateful for his family and to see his hard work pay off during his retirement years when he and Beverly enjoyed traveling between their homes in Livonia and Cedarville. They spent many nights traveling to different casinos, enjoying buffets, listening to music, and making great friends. A majority of the blessings they shared with their children were the times they spent at their home in Cedarville. In his later years, Jim took great pride in caring for his wife, Beverly, and listening to music with her in their home.

Everyone knew Jim as a laid-back man who was easy to be around. He was kind and loyal to those he loved. An outdoorsman and avid fisherman, Jim enjoyed much of his retirement on the waters of the Les Cheneaux Islands and hunting for morel mushrooms in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He was a longtime member of the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club (NFLCC) and attended shows where he would admire and trade fishing lures. He also sold antiques at two stores in Livonia: Town and Country Antiques and Yesterday’s Antiques. One of his favorite pastimes was sharing beers and trading antiques from his inviting treasure trove of collections in his garage. Jim also enjoyed birdwatching and playing lottery tickets. He loved playing the casino slot machines, and his favorite spot was the Kewadin Casino in Hessel. His last trip to the casino was on his 80th birthday, and with the last pull he ever took, he hit the jackpot!

Jim is survived by his five children and their families, Kenneth and Jayne Adkins of Mexico Beach, Florida, Doris “Sissy” and Eric Fitchpatrick of Fowlerville, John and Lori Adkins of Livonia, Jimmy Adkins and Laurie LaMontagne of Milford, and Michelle and Anthony Colangelo of Livonia; many grandchildren, including Jason, Amanda and Jared, Ashley, Gary, Joey, Jordan, Austin, Riley, Eric and Courtney, Adam and Heather, Josh, Melissa and Justin, Bill and Marcy.

Jim is also survived by his great-grandchildren, Tabitha, Kalvin, Kaleb, Bryn, Piper, Sloane, Isaiah, Emberlee, Declan, Jessica, Peter, Nevaeh, Colton, Allison and Dylan, Kailee, Eric III, Makenzie, Lexi, Jordan, Maeve, Kyle, Hunter, Lily, Trevor and TJ, and great-great-grandchild, Alana. His loving grand-dogs, Hagan and Roarie, also survive him, as well as his brother and family, Edward and Laurie Lacy; his sister, Kathleen Urban; his best friend, Ken Norman; his stepmother, Jane Urban; stepbrothers and their families, Walter Karczewski and Sarah, and James Karczewski; nieces, Stephanie Wilson, Shannon Lacy, and his niece and goddaughter, Erin Addleman and Brice; and nephew, Kevin Lacy.

Jim was also preceded in death by his father, Bruno Urban; his mother, Blanche Lacy; his stepfather, Edward Lacy; his in-laws, Henry and Wilma Campbell and Doris and James Murdock; two grandsons, Kenny Allen Adkins and Mark Wallace; and his beloved dog, Gizmo.

Arrangements were handled by the Turowski Life Story Funeral Home of Livonia. Services with military honors and Honor Guard Service by the Livonia Fire & Rescue Department will be held Wednesday, April 24, and Thursday, April 25. Burial will be in Fowlerville, beside Beverly.