As of 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday, February 16:
The family of Jim Crouch will be gathering privately in the summer.
James Lee Crouch, age 77 years of Niles, Michigan, husband, father, grandfather, golfer, fisherman, and state champion pitcher died peacefully at 6:22 a.m. with his family gathered around at his home following an extended illness. His family is grateful for the kind and compassionate care provided by the staff of Caring Circle Hospice at Home.
He was born on November 14, 1943 in South Bend, Indiana to Ernest G. and Ruth M. (Gogley) Crouch and was graduated from Niles High School. He has lived in Niles all of his life and had a career of thirty-seven years in natural gas utilities beginning with the former Michigan Power Company, which was named SEMCO when he retired as Operations Manager.
Jim had been a member of the Portage Prairie United Methodist Church in Bertrand Township, Michigan where he also began his fastpitch softball career. He moved from the Portage Prairie team to the Kennedy Motors sponsored team which won a state championship with Jim pitching. He later played for the Misty Acres team and volunteered as a little league coach. As a young man he began golfing at the Brookwood Golf Course in Buchanan, Michigan where he maintained a one handicap, and carded two holes-in-one, later playing at Plym Park Golf Course in Niles.
His athleticism was also evident on the bowling alley, usually at the former A A Timber Lanes Bowling in Niles where he and his wife won a pairs tournament. He enjoyed snowmobiling, and fishing on Lake Michigan with a regular group of boating couples. Amongst all of these activities, he found time to practice interior decorating as a contractor for Sherwin-Williams.
On March 24, 1979 at Saint Mary Catholic Church in Niles he married the former Kathryn Lynn Ballew with whom he celebrated last year the Forty-first anniversary of their wedding.
Surviving family includes his wife, Kathy Crouch; children Tami (& Joe) Paquette of Niles, Tim (& Wendy) Crouch of Rockford, Illinois, Tom (& Margie) Crouch of Cassopolis, Michigan, Randy (& Andrea) Vernier of Niles, and Rick (& Christina Lee) Vernier of Niles; grandchildren Erika (& Clayton) Abernathy, Emily Crouch, Megan Crouch, Andrew Crouch, Caitlin (& Nathan) Miller, Chelsea (& Jason Marye) McIntyre, Stephanie Vernier, Megan Lee and Josh Lee; great-grandchildren Chloe, Grant, and Cora James; and Jim’s siblings, Louis (& Marlene) Crouch of Florida, and Elaine (& Albert) Siewert, Paul (& Christina) Crouch, Evelyn (& Marlin) Troyer, and Brett (& Kim) Crouch, all of Niles; many nieces and nephews; and his beloved pet dog, Jack.
He was preceded in death by his parents and by a sister, Lois Granger and by a brother - Elaine’s twin - Duane Crouch.
Services cancelled due to a relative testing positive for coronavirus on the preceding day, resulting in an exposure situation for many.
The Catholic Funeral Liturgy will be read for James Crouch at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at Saint Mary Catholic Church, 203 South Lincoln Avenue in Niles by the Rev. Christian Johnston of Saint Mary’s. The family will receive relatives and friends on Saturday at the church beginning at 11:00 a.m. Attendance will be limited, masks required, and social distancing practiced. Others may witness the events via the livestreamed broadcast on the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page:
Interment will be later, privately, at the Portage Prairie Cemetery in Bertrand Township. Contributions in memory of Jim may be made to Caring Circle Hospice at Home, 4025 Health Park Lane, Saint Joseph, Michigan, 49085; https://www.spectrumhealthlakeland.org/caring-circle . Arrangements were made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Online condolences may be left at:
All of the activities in which Jim participated were with people, whether at church, on the golf course or ball diamond, papering and painting families’ homes, and even at work with the great group of fellow gas service employees. But most important was the love of the closest group of friends to Jim and Kathy, the special love of his wife, children and grandchildren, and knowing The Source of that love.