IRON MOUNTAIN — James “Jim” Clement Bianchi, 79, passed away Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, at the Oscar G. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center in Iron Mountain.
James was born on April, 15, 1939, in Norway, son of Clement and Irene (Poppe) Bianchi. Jim was a Norway Hill Topper.
After graduating from Norway High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, despite a leg defect from childhood polio. He served his tour in Lebanon, Germany and Turkey. When he returned home, he entered the reserves and then worked for the City of Iron Mountain, where he met and later married his wife of 56 years, Marilyn (Morelli) Bianchi. He then worked for the Niagara Mill until his early retirement in 1982.
He was a member of St. Mary Queen of Peach Church in Kingsford. Jim lived by the phrase “Get busy living or get busy dying.” He was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease at the age of 39. He chose to make the best of his life despite increasing physical disability.
He loved the outdoors, hunting, trapping, fly fishing and spearfishing. He grew a large vegetable garden with many fruit trees. He hunted morels and wild asparagus, made homemade wine, root beer, beer and sauerkraut. He also raised chickens and ducks. He even wrote a sportsman column for his high school paper under the pen name Ed Dodee.
He loved bird watching and could identify any bird. He had an ongoing battle with the squirrels in his yard, which lasted many years. He was artistic. He loved oil painting, drawing caricatures, basket weaving, and making snowshoes. He made furniture, and despite a Parkinson’s tremor, began woodcarving which he realized he had a gift for.
Jim is survived by his wife, Marilyn; a sister, Sandy (Gus) Blom of Florida; daughters, Leanne (Mark) Hansford of DePere, Wis., and Barbie (Dean) DeRidder of Iron Mountain; grandsons, Kyle Hansford, Eric Hansford, Nic (Stacie) DeRidder and Ben (Audra) DeRidder; one granddaughter, Dayna (Steve) Hodgins; two great-grandchildren, Claire DeRidder and Russell Hodgins; a very special brother-in-law, Jerry Morelli; sisters-in-law, Jeanette Morelli and Dee (Harry) Farris; a special goddaughter, Denise Gauthier; and many wonderful nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Clement Bianchi; mother, Irene Bianchi; two beloved nephews, Greg Morelli and Russ Halverson; and a special brother-in-law, Ed Morelli.
He was cared for by many compassionate caregivers towards the end of his illness. He also was blessed to have been a participant at Family Ties, where he was treated with dignity and respect.
Visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20 at the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home.
The Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary Queen of Peace Church.
Pallbearers will be Kyle Hansford, Ben DeRidder, Nic DeRidder, Mike Morelli, Mark Hansford and Stephen Hodgins.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Jim’s name can be made to Family Ties Adult Day Care Center in Iron Mountain.
A scholarship fund for students of agricultural studies and/or forestry will be set up in his honor.
Condolences to the family of James Bianchi may be expressed online at www.ernashfueralhomes.com
The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home with the arrangements.