Obituary: James Zerrenner, 79, of Ludington.

July 15, 2021

James Zerrenner

Obituary: James Zerrenner, 79, of Ludington.

A bright light went out on Monday, July 12, 2021, with the passing of James William Zerrenner, known by many simply as Zebo. While peaceful was not often a word used to describe his lifestyle, he pulled off a peaceful passing at home, along the shores of Lake Michigan, in Ludington. He wrung 110% out of life for 79 years.

A graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law, Jim set out to change the legal world and make a name for himself. After taking on a divorce case early in his career, he was rewarded by his client striking him with her purse, at which time he proclaimed that would be the last divorce case he ever did.  Thousands of divorce cases later, he was accepted into the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (president, 1997-1998, Michigan Chapter), and ultimately selected into the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Never one to shy away from fashion, some might say flamboyant, he was well-known as a sharp dresser and approached life with a zest rarely matched.  Away from the spotlight, what mattered most to him was making people feel good. When Jim walked into a room – be it a locker room, living room, or court room – you felt his presence…quite possibly because of his outfit, more likely because he made you feel like the most important person in that room. He was the consummate people’s person and it showed by his enormous circle of friends.

While his golf game was certainly better than his DIY game (he barely knew the difference between a flathead and Phillips head screwdriver), he was his biggest critic often finishing a swing with “Oooh Zebo!” watching an errant shot.  Of course, a round of golf was not complete without a Manhattan at the 19th hole, where reflecting on the round you were likely to hear his famous saying, “I’m a better player than that and everyone knows it.”

Away from the courtroom and golf course, Jim enjoyed time at home with his wife Char and their dogs, curating the grounds of his lifelong dream of living along the shores of Lake Michigan.

He was so proud of his kids, loved his family and friends dearly, and beamed when talking about his grandkids. He will be dearly missed, but the quick wit and one liners are surely flying above.

He was preceded in death by parents Irene and Harvey Zerrenner, brother Roger Zerrenner, and stepson Cpl. Daane DeBoer.

He is survived by wife Charlene (Sturrus) Zerrenner; daughter Amy (Jeff) Miller; son Eric (Heather) Zerrenner; grandsons, Andrew and Evan Miller, granddaughters Quinn and Kaitlyn Zerrenner; stepdaughters, Ashley Douzant and Aubrey (Donald) Walkins; step-granddaughter Arya Douzant; nephew Chad Hochman; and first wife Karen (Groth) Zerrenner.  

His family will hold a private, family only, service.
A Celebration of Life will be scheduled for later this fall, where we will practice another great Zebo mantra, “everything in moderation, including moderation.”
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  or the Wounded Warrior Project 

Arrangements have been entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington.

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