Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

James H. 'Jim' Bale

IRONWOOD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - James H. "Jim" Bale, 87 of Ironwood Township went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Friday, June 5, 2020, while surrounded by his loving family, and holding hands with the love of his life of 69 1/2 years, Joan Berlin Bale.

Jim was born in Oxbow Dam, Michigan, on Nov. 4, 1932, and lived in Lakeview, Michigan, before moving to Ironwood about 1939. On Dec. 20, 1950, he and Joan were married. They bought their Ironwood Township farm in 1955 where they raised their nine children.

He attended the first Ironwood Adult Ed classes, graduating in 1969, two weeks ahead of eldest son Jim. He also attended Marquette Automotive School.

Always a hard worker, skill sets included Ironwood Mobile Homes, Conrad Johnson Construction, National Tea store, John Berg Logging using horses, White Pine Copper, the Penokee iron mine, Gogebic Medical Care, and Gogebic County Maintenance Garage as a welder. For a time he was a self-employed logger with his brother "Tuffy" and son Jim as BB&B Contracting, until forced to retire due to previous mining injuries.

Special activities included enjoying the woods for hiking, fishing and hunting, or nurturing gardens, or seeking agates and yooperlites along Lake Superior. His passions included reading his Bible and praying, loving and helping his family and others, teaching all to "see" God within His creation, and leading them to faith in Jesus Christ.

Survivors include his loving wife Joan; sons James E. (Annette), Warren, Mark (Jane) and Timothy (Terri); daughters Wanda (Jim) Aili, Winona (Monte) Hollenbeck, Wendy (Brad) Samarzia, Sheila (Bruce) Erickson and Lisa (James) Mallison; brother-in-law Joseph Mezzano and sister-in-law Cathy Bale; 35 grandchildren, 80 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, many special friends, and dogs Beau and Jed, and cat Kitty Bigfoot.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank W. and Mary E. (Backman), siblings and in-laws, John and Barbara, Mary and John Perlberg, Marion "Tuffy," Helen Mezzano, Robert, and Joan's parents Ernest and Cere (Hedberg) Berlin and Joan's foster family, Aunt Mae (Berlin) Minkin and Uncle Alex Minkin, and Gerald and Quentin.

A celebration of life and picnic will be held at the Bale Farm "Pond," 12161 Bale Lane, on Saturday, June 13, from 1 p.m-?. Bring your lawn chairs, a story to share, and if so inclined, cookies or bars to share.

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