James B. Bass, age 62 years, husband, father, grandfather, provider, and neighborhood grillmaster died peacefully at 4:52 p.m. on Saturday, October 12, 2019 with family gathered around at his house following a brief illness. His family is grateful for the special care provided by the staff of Caring Circle Hospice and others who helped James stay at home (and out of the hospital).
He was born as J. B. Bass on April 16, 1957 in Trumann, Arkansas to Irmalene Bass. Five years later, on the first day of school, a proper first name was required for which he named himself “James” . He moved with his family to Michigan where he attended Benton Harbor High School. He soon met Diane Dickerson with whom he would spend the rest of his life. He was devoted to provide the income to shelter and nourish his family, sometimes working two jobs, and moving his family to California in search of better jobs. They returned to Michigan in 1996, to Niles where they bought their first house. He was employed at the former New Energy ethanol plant in South Bend, Indiana and was currently employed at MAP of Easton, Inc. in Elkhart, Indiana.
James enjoyed fishing in the Saint Joseph River, usually in Niles or Benton Harbor, and often at night for catfish. He also enjoyed gardening, mostly green tomatoes, greens, and every variety of hot peppers. He would go hunting for deer or rabbit which he would prepare for meals in the kitchen at home. But his best cooking was in the backyard on the grill, especially his barbequed ribs. Grilling combined many interests, including those hot peppers for the rub, listening to the blues and to jazz, and fellowshipping with neighbors drawn by the fragrances, sometimes adding their own meat to the grill. He was always careful to adjust the heat of the peppers from “nice” for his wife to “challenging” for the young men at the table.
His greatest interest, efforts, and devotion was his family. On December 23, 1978 he celebrated his relationship with Diane in a wedding in Saint Joseph, Michigan.
Surviving family includes his wife, Diane Bass and their daughters, Alicia (& Richard Porter) Dickerson of Long Beach, California and Shawnte (& Marshall) Bass-Merritt of San Antonio, Texas. James was so successful naming himself that he gave endearing nicknames to each of his grandchildren: Amanda “Dimps” (& Mario) Casul, Brenda Ann “Li’l Bit” Bass, Imani “Tiny Mite” Jerome, Ishmael “Ishy” Wilburn, Adiel “Low Key” Wilburn, James B. “Slick” Bass, Cordell “Money” Merritt, Richard “Rue” Porter and Shantrice “Princess” Merritt.
Also surviving are James’ siblings, Stoney Prowell of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Annie Woods of Los Angeles, California, Jo Matrisha (& Will) Bates of South Bend, and Jolena Prowell of Benton Harbor; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by a 19 year old son, James Poole; by his mother, Irmalene Bass Prowell; and siblings, Carla June Bass, J. W. Bass, and Doris Prowell.
The memorial service for James Bass will be at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles with Rev. Rebecca R. Mitchell officiating. The family will receive relatives and friends on Thursday at the funeral home beginning at 1:00 p.m. Committal will follow at the Silverbrook Cemetery Columbarium in Niles.
Contributions in memory of James may be made to the Niles Noon Optimist Club, P.O.Box 63, Niles, Michigan, 49120. Online condolences may be left at: www.halbritterwickens.com
James was born with an absentee father, and his mother died during his childhood, but he persevered as an honorable husband and father, with a disciplined and industrious lifestyle to “feed his babies” and leave a legacy of a successful family who loves him and looks forward to coming home to “the house that James built”.