BESSEMER, Mich. — Jim Carpenedo, 70, of Bessemer, died unexpectedly at home on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024.
Jim was born in 1953, to Chuck and Betty (Certano) Carpenedo and raised in southern California until the age of 12. The family moved back to Chuck and Betty's hometown of Bessemer in 1965. Jim immediately loved his new home and ever afterwards he said, "I wouldn't want to live anywhere else."
Jim attended the Ramsay School and graduated from A.D. Johnston High School, Gogebic Junior College and attended Northern Michigan University.
From the time he was a little boy playing in the sand piles in his California backyard, Jim had a love for trucks. As he got older his trucks got bigger: as a young teen he drove pickups as he helped his dad work on their home place, he drove dump trucks when the airport runway was being built, he drove a boom truck for Wilbert Vault Company, he drove log trucks for Ray Waurio, he drove trucks hauling equipment for Joe Bravatto and he drove fuel delivery trucks for C&M Oil. He felt so fortunate that he could "play trucks" all his life. He got a brand new bright yellow Dodge Power Wagon in 1973, and never was without a pickup.
He was an artist with heavy equipment. Watching his hands as he ran the many controls of a backhoe was like watching a graceful ballet, no joy sticks back then! He was a wizard at fixing anything mechanical, doggedly sticking to it until he solved the mystery. He said he didn't believe in the "No win scenario" making parts when replacements were no longer available. He was often called upon by family and friends to solve their mechanical woes by phone.
In 1980, he joined his parents at C&M Oil Company, becoming the third generation to run the business. When his dad retired in 1989, Jim became the manager of the business, the position held until his death. Through the lean and plenty times he believed in providing good service to his customers, and he put his every effort towards making the business thrive.
In 1982, he married Shirley Martinson and formed a partnership lasting more than 42 years. They raised two daughters, Susan and Karen. Jim enjoyed his family and his precious off work time was spent with them. He didn't miss any soccer games, theater or music performances, quiz bowl, or horse shows. He patiently carried Susan's instruments and hauled Karen's horse. Family trips took them to 30 states and five provinces. The family cottage at Lake Gogebic or camping trips to Sylvania Wilderness Area were summer destinations. After the girls were grown, Jim and Shirley enjoyed traveling, but even more just being together fishing, sailing, gardening and working on projects.
Jim's saving faith in Jesus gave him a joy that was obvious in his beautiful smile. He looked at his life with thanksgiving and appreciation. He often called Shirley to tell of a beautiful sunset, a rainbow, the mood of Lake Superior, the frost on the radiant fall leaves. He even found beauty in the dried weeds and brought her bouquets she loved. At night he shared stories of the people he met and the places he'd been.
He loved people too, appreciating our strengths and accepting our weaknesses. He had a heart for children and teens and wanted them to know the joy of faith. For 33 years, Jim and Shirley worked as a team in the AWANA program at various churches. His exuberance as he led singing and games weekly was beautiful to behold. When on an outdoor adventure or camping trip with junior highers, he was as much a kid as any of them!
Jim is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughters, Susan (Mark) Ford and Karen (Henry) VanHoof; a granddaughter, Helen; four stepgrandchildren, Matt, Mary, Valyn and Kaia; his sister, Dee Carpenedo; and numerous other family members and friends.
A memorial service will be held at Range Community Bible Church, South U.S. 51, Hurley, Wisconsin, on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 11:30 a.m. Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. Lunch will follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Range Community Bible Church children's ministry.
Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, is assisting the family with arrangements. To send online condolences or to share a memory, please go to lakesidememorialchapel.com.