TRAVERSE CITY — James E. Wibby, 89, of Traverse City, passed away on Feb. 13, 2014. Jim was born in Detroit on Nov. 7, 1924, and married Betty on Sept. 11, 1948. She preceded him in death on June 18, 2004.
Jim was a proud World War II combat infantryman serving 123 days of continuous combat as part of the 104th Infantry Division (Timberwolves) before being wounded on Feb. 23, 1945, and eventually returning to the United States. He was decorated with a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars. He was a member of Chapter 23 of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge and was grateful for the community’s honoring of him and his fellow vets during the Cherry Festival parades.
After the war, Jim graduated from Wayne State University in 1948 and began a 38-year career in banking. His passion was helping small businesses. Jim was a member of the 47th class of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. During his banking career he served in executive positions at Manufacturers National Bank in Detroit and as President of Metropolitan National Bank in Farmington, Mich. He was a founding director and past president of the Michigan Community Bankers Association and was an instructor at Michigan Bankers Association and American Bankers Association seminars.
Jim and Betty were the proud parents of two sons, Jim (Sandy) of Petoskey, and Chuck (Phyllis) of Boulder, Colo.; four grandchildren, Katie (Nick) of Traverse City, Brian (Beth) of Marquette, Kyle of Orleans, Mass., and Ryan of Boulder, Colo.; and three great-grandchildren, Mateo, Juniper and Kahlil of Marquette.
Jim was a man of many talents including being a Master Gardener, a builder and instructor of ornamental water gardening at Northwestern Michigan College, an accomplished woodworker and a volunteer at many Traverse City organizations. He was a lifelong hockey fan, from having Red Wing season tickets to watching his sons and grandsons play, to skating with Gordie Howe at Howe Arena.