2017-03-16 / Obituaries

James ‘Jim’ Bleakley

James Bleakley James Bleakley James “Jim” Bleakley, 78, of Mackinaw City, passed away Wednesday, March 8, 2017, after a brief illness with acute myeloid leukemia.

He was born June 8, 1938, to Herbert and Elizabeth Bleakley in Detroit.

Mr. Bleakley attended Denby High School in Detroit, graduating in 1957 as a class officer and an accomplished athlete. His years at Denby High School were some of the very best of his life, and he happily attended all of his high school reunions. Many of those friendships endured for the remainder of his life.

After high school, he studied art education at Eastern Michigan University, but felt the pull of using his considerable love of people to enter the sales field. Mr. Bleakley enjoyed a lifelong career in sales, retiring from his own awards and recognition business at the age of 75.

He attended his children’s school and athletic events, and took great pleasure in their entrepreneurial achievements. With unmatched enthusiasm and determination, he coached successful soccer teams.

He met Mary Erickson Revilo Pool in 1987, and a few months later they were married July 18, 1987. The blended family moved from the east side of Detroit to Livonia. In 2000, after all the children had left home, Mr. Bleakley and his wife fulfilled his dream by moving south, where they built a home in McCormick, South Carolina. They both worked from home, and there was time for them to explore new opportunities. He became an avid golfer, even becoming a ranger at a nearby golf course. He also became active in the community. In the 15 years he lived in South Carolina, Mr. Bleakley served as president of the Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the Habitat for Humanity Board and the Visitors Council of Piedmont Technical College. He was head of the Gold Rush Festival and Parade, and the Christmas Parade. He was active in Relay for Life. He also sang in the church choir, served as a deacon, and was involved with Promise Keepers. He was a board member and strong supporter of the Foothills Emmaus community, an experience of Christian spiritual renewal and formation. Mr. Bleakley and his wife both loved reaching out to the children and youth in the diverse community of McCormick. He led Vacation Bible School for several years, and he and his wife served as leaders of the church youth group. They also led a Sunday school class for young adults.

They moved to Mackinaw City in 2015, and purchased a 100- year-old restored bungalow, where they greatly enjoyed their new life. He began painting, picking up where he had left off half a century earlier. In the short time he lived in Mackinaw City, Mr. Bleakley painted dozens of paintings, having some of them displayed in art shows.

He is survived by his wife, Mary; three children and their families, Kendra Bleakley and Adina Jascoe of Waterford, Lisa and Omar Knox of Westland, and James Jr. and Megan Bleakley of Charlottesville, Virginia; a stepson and his family, James and Megan Pool of Ferndale, and seven grandchildren, Elijah, Esther, Dario, Joshua, Eden, Olive, and Eliana. He is also survived by a younger brother and his family, Tom and Mary Ellen Bleakley; two aunts, Marilyn Bleakley Trombly and Jane Bleakley Tombley; Joseph Stucky, who became part of the family when Mr. Bleakley’s parents served as foreign missionaries, and a cherished family friend, Carol Fleck of Arizona.

No services for Mr. Bleakley are planned. Interment will be at a later date in the family plot at the Carp Lake Township Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Charlottesville Vineyard Christian Church in Charlottesville or the Renaissance Vineyard Church in Ferndale.

Nordman-Christian Funeral Home in Cheboygan assisted the family with arrangements.

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