James graduated from Luther L. Wright High School with the class of 1958. He then attended Gogebic Community College, and he later studied surveying in Detroit.
He had worked for General Motors in New York. He then worked for the Michigan Highway Department for 10 years, working on state and federal highways. He retired from Lakehead Pipeline after 29 years of service.
On June 1, 1967, James was united in marriage with Helen Marie Peltomaki in Ironwood. She preceded him in death on March 27, 2001.
Jim was a lifelong member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ironwood. He was also a member of the North American Hunting Club, the National Rifle Association, the NRA Whittington Center, the Upper Peninsula Trappers Association, Ducks Unlimited, the Second Amendment Foundation, and he had been an active leader with the Gogebic County 4-H program.
He is survived by a son, Steven (Linda) Patterson of Milwaukie, Ore.; a daughter, Christy Patterson of Hillsboro, Ore., and several cousins, nephews and nieces.
Cremation has taken place at the Range Crematory in Hurley.
A memorial service will be held Monday, June 17, 2013, at 11 a.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ironwood. Rev. Kurt Kovanen will officiate. The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at the church.
Arrangements are by Range Funeral Service and Crematory, Ketola-Burla Funeral Home of Ironwood.