Cover photo for Ira Light's Obituary
1947 Ira Light 2023

Ira Light

October 16, 1947 — December 17, 2023

Mishawaka, Indiana


Ira Eugene Light, age 76 years of Mishawaka, Indiana; husband, father, grandfather, brother, truck driver, and honorable Marine – “Oorah!” – died peacefully at 2:55 p.m. on Sunday, December 17, 2023 at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka following a battle against cancer.

He was born on October 16, 1947 in Dowagiac, Michigan to Eugene A. and Isabel C. (Carroll) Light who were assisted in parenting Ira by grandparents Goldie & Charlie Light, and aunt Gloria Sobiski.  He attended Dowagiac schools, but was graduated from a high school in Los Angeles, California.  He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1967, and served on the ground in Vietnam, earning many decorations including the Vietnam Service Medal with 3 service stars, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Purple Heart Medal.  He reenlisted and was assigned to a ship, adding a Sea Service Medal and a Meritorious Mast, and increased his rifle proficiency to earn the coveted Rifle Expert Badge.  He completed his reserve obligation and was honorably discharged in 1980, but “once a Marine . . .”.

Back in civilian life, Ira began a career as an over-the-road truck driver for Risinger Brothers Transfer, Inc., allowing him to visit most of the United States.  When at home, he was a member of the American Legion Post #777 in Indianapolis.  He was a “car guy” who actually owned and drove his favorite classic, a 1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS.  He was well-known for his dry sense of humor, often disguised by his constant straight face, but his greatest joy was his family.

On November 11, 1995, at the home in Mishawaka that they had shared for several years, he married the former Sandra Kay Duguid, with whom he celebrated last month the twenty-eighth anniversary of their wedding.

Surviving family includes his wife, Sandra Light and their children, Robert (& Stacy) Abbott of Walkerton, Indiana, Michelle (& Kevin Smarr) Abbott of Mishawaka, and Ryan (& Cindy) Abbott of Carlock, Illinois; grandchildren Austin Abbott, Gunner Ira Abbott-Wolfe, Kristen Sobolewski, Amber Sobolewski, Ceara Abbott, and Rayce Abbott; great-grandchildren Tessa, Jenna, Abigail, and Dakota; and Ira’s siblings, Larry (& Sue) Light of Cassopolis, Michigan, Mara Light of Cadillac, Michigan, and Penny Atkins of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and surrogate parents, and by his brothers, Al Light and John Light.

The family of Ira Light will receive relatives and friends on Saturday, December 23, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles.  The Visitation will be followed by a procession to his graveside in Mission Hills for Full Military Honors by the United States Marine Corps Honor Guard assisted by American Legion Post #51 of Buchanan, Michigan.

Contributions in memory of Ira may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, Florida, 32256,; or to purchase a memorial brick at the Niles Veteran’s Memorial, c/o City Hall, 333 North Second Street, Niles, Michigan, 49120;  Online condolences may be left at:

As a young man, Ira traveled from Dowagiac to Los Angeles; as a Marine, he traveled the world; and while driving a truck, he saw much of the United States.  But Ira was most comfortable at home, caring for his kids and grandkids, and Sandra.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ira Light, please visit our flower store.


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