TRAVERSE CITY — John Thompson Bales, 72, of Traverse City, passed away Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, at Munson Medical Center.
John was born in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday, April 13, 1941, the son of Reva Lavon (Robison) and Ferdinand Finley Bales. He married Mary Alice Wilbrett on Saturday, July 16, 1966, in Detroit.
John grew up in Kalamazoo. He attended Western Michigan University (WMU), graduating with a degree in paper engineering from the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
He spent his career working in the paper industry, beginning with Hercules, Inc. and eventually retiring from Beloit, Inc. He was active in industry associations, PIMA, TAPPI and served as the chairman of the board for the Paper Technology Board of Directors at WMU. His career took him to live in Delaware, Florida, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, establishing good friends along the way.
In retirement, he continued to pursue his business interests and served on the board of directors of Goodwill Industries and Paperworks Studio, which supports special needs adults in the Traverse City area.
He was a voracious reader, loved books and enjoyed many outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, hunting, skiing, snowmobiling, golfing and traveling.
He was most recently a member of Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City, raised his family in the Lutheran tradition wherever they lived and served in the leadership of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church while in Oregon.
While quiet about it, John fought chronic lymphocytic leukemia the last 16 years of his life.
Family, friends and faith were always high priorities in his life. His integrity and wisdom will carry on.
He will forever be remembered and loved by his wife, Mary; children, Thom (Jillian), of San Francisco, Calif., and Melinda (Robert) Howell, of Marietta, Ga.; grandchildren, Meredith and Caroline Howell and Talbot, Morgan and Mary Elizabeth “Emmy” Bales; his brother, Daniel (Carole) Bales, of Romulus; in-laws, Robert (Darlene) Wilbrett; along with nieces, nephews, cousins and many close friends.