Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

January 17, 2013

James R. Godfrey

TRAVERSE CITY — James R. Godfrey, 85, of Traverse City, passed away on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, at Munson Medical Center.

Jim was born on Saturday, Oct. 8, 1927, the son of Frederick Charles David Godfrey and Annie Olive (Lowry) Godfrey. On Saturday, Jan. 7, 1950, in Detroit, he married Janet Regan, his loving wife of 63 years, and she survives him.

Jim served in the U.S. Merchant Marines from 1944 to 1946 during World War II in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean and Middle East war zones, and was also a part of the Philippine Liberation.

He was a used car salesman at numerous dealerships in the Detroit area for over 30 years. In 1979, Jim and Janet moved to Traverse City, where he worked for Montgomery Ward until the store closed in the '80s. Then he worked at Carpenter, Inc. until he retired.

In retirement Jim and Janet enjoyed vending at various area festival flea markets for many years as well as other part-time jobs.

He was a lifetime member of the Elks Lodge, a member of the American Legion and a member of the Traverse City American Military League.

While living in the Detroit area he was a longtime member of Multi-Lakes Conservation Club.

Jim loved the outdoors - family camping trips, fishing, mushrooming, golfing, and of course, hunting season at deer camp with his friends and family. He was also an avid bowler for many years and loved to travel. Playing pinochle and euchre were also favorite pastimes.

Jim is survived by his loving wife, Janet; and his children, Christine (Carl) DeGrandchamp, of Traverse City, Catherine Godfrey, of Wixom, Denise (Phillip) Strommel, of Lake, James (Robin) Godfrey, of Traverse City, Cindy (Steve) Melichar, of Traverse City, and Steve (Connie) Godfrey, of Waterford. Also, 10 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; his brother, Irving Godfrey, of Ocala, Fla.; and his sister, Olive Margaret Laitala, of Livonia; survive. We will all miss you dearly.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, David, Charles and Robert; and twin grandsons, James and Thomas Bembeneck.

According to Jim's wishes, he has been cremated. Visitation will take place from 12:30 until 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, with the memorial service beginning at 1:30 p.m., also at the funeral home. Deacon Rene Hoenscheid will officiate. Military honors will be provided by the Honor Guard of Cherryland VFW Post 2780.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Cherryland Humane Society, 1750 Ahlberg Road, Traverse City, MI 49686 or to the Grand Traverse County Commission on Aging, 520 W. Front St., Traverse City, MI 49684.

Please share memories of Jim by way of his online guestbook/tribute page at

The family is being served by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

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