Obituary: James Anderson, 86, of Ludington.

October 27, 2021

Jim Anderson

Obituary: James Anderson, 86, of Ludington.

James Edward Anderson, 86, of Ludington, passed away on Monday, October 25, 2021. 

Jim was born in Ludington on July 28, 1935, the son of Edward and Cora Anderson. In 1958 he married the love of his life, Eleanor Paul.  They have two children:Thomas (Moira Parks) Anderson, who is a dentist in Holland, and Beth (Rich) Kirby, who is a teacher in Ludington.  Jim and Eleanor have five grandchildren; Megan (Jake) Hughye, Erik Anderson, Rune, Kate and Kennedy Kirby, and two great grandchildren; Mabel James and Windsor.

Being the son of a sheriff, Jim grew up in the Mason County Jail where he interacted with deputies and inmates on a daily basis and went on an occasional call with his dad.  In high school, Jim was nominated “most valuable player” his senior year in football where he earned the name “Crazy Legs”.  That same year, his basketball team went on to the state finals where he scored the final 2 points. Together, with his basketball team, Jim was inducted into the Mason County Hall of Fame in 2009.
Upon graduation from Ludington High School in 1953, Jim’s first summer job was on the C&O Carferry SS Badger, a company he would return to some 38 years later as one of its owners.  In the fall of 1953 he enrolled in college at Western Michigan College (now Western Michigan University), where he attended for three years receiving his bachelor’s of science degree.  He then transferred to the University of Michigan to pursue his goal of becoming an engineer.  He graduated with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in mechanical engineering.  

He began his 32 year career in his chosen field at Jackson Vibrators as a project engineer, chief engineer, and the last 18 years with the company as the vice president of manufacturing.  Upon retirement from Jackson Vibrators in 1991, he was approached by Charles Conrad who was interested in acquiring the carferry company, which had recently discontinued operation.  Together they started the company that was to become the Lake Michigan Carferry Service.  His engineering background proved invaluable in the renovation of the SS Badger and the success of the company.   Eventually Jim became one of the owners of the company that operated the SS Badger and Pere Marquette Shipping.  He retired from the company in 2007 and sold the business in 2020.

Jim was a lifelong member of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church where he served on the church board, the finance committee and the property committee.  He also served on the Ludington Economic Development Board, Memorial Medical Center Board, Ludington Area Schools Board of Education, coached his son’s and daughter’s youth basketball teams, and headed up a successful United Way Drive.  He was also a member of the Ludington Area Jaycees and Ludington Rotary Club.

Jim is survived by his wife, Eleanor, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Cora Jean.

He lived a long and wonderful life. In the words of Jim, “Look up lucky in the dictionary and you will see his picture!”  His family were certainly the lucky ones.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Ludington.

A memorial service will take place Saturday, November 6, 2021 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church located at 501 East Danaher Street, Ludington. The service will begin at 11 a.m. The family will start greeting friends at 10 a.m.

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

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