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James Wilson Stirling of Ada passed away Saturday, May 12, 2018, at the age of 82. Jim was born on February 16, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois, to the late James and Frances Stirling. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 60 years, Patricia Stirling. Jim is also survived by his adult children, Jeffrey Stirling (Kristen), Margaret Stirling (Brett Green), Carol Kiel (David), Cynthia Stirling-Finzel, and daughter-in-law, Rebecca Stirling. He was preceded in death by his first-born son, James Wilson Stirling Jr. He adored his grandchildren: Katelyn Tselios (Nicholas), Matthew Stirling, Anna Stirling, Jennifer Stirling, Jordan Stirling, Evan Kiel, Conner Kiel, Jake Finzel, and Rylie Finzel.
After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University, Jim received seminary education at Garrett Theological Seminary and was ordained to the United Methodist Church in 1962. He served several churches in Wisconsin, but was most proud of the launch and growth of Bethel Hill Methodist in New Berlin. After over a decade in ministry, he transitioned to work as the National Sales Manager for Xerox University Microfilm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He continued his success in sales and marketing, when he became Vice President at Edwards Brothers, a book manufacturer in Ann Arbor.
Jim resided in Chelsea for 20 years, raising his family and taking on leadership roles at St. Paul United Church of Christ and the Chelsea School Board. Despite suffering a stroke in his 40’s, Jim stayed consistently positive with an upbeat manner and a vibrant smile. He was an avid golfer and was known for his passion for sports, especially the Tigers, Redwings, Packers, and Wolverines. He will be remembered for his outgoing personality, his keen sense of humor, and his love for his family and friends.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, May 21st at 1 p.m. at East Congregational U.C.C., 1005 Giddings, Grand Rapids, MI 49506. Jim’s family will greet guests prior to the service beginning at 12 p.m. A visitation will take place at Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Services on Sunday, May 20th from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. – 4291 Cascade SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. The family will gather for a grave side service at Oak Grove Cemetery in Chelsea at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to East Congregational U.C.C. or Disability Advocates of Kent County.