James "Jim" Charles Cleereman, 81, of 1407 1st Avenue South, Escanaba, passed away late Saturday morning, July 7, 2018, at the DJ Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette following a lengthy illness. He was born on November 13, 1936, in Escanaba, a son of Thyra (Rapin) and William Cleereman, Sr. William, Sr. passed in April of 1937, a few months after James' birth, his youngest son.
During his youth his mother, two older brothers and sister made many trips to Green Bay, WI to visit the relatives of their deceased father. He was raised by his mother, older siblings and his Rapin grandparents. His Grandfather Rapin apprenticed Jim in his house painting business as a high school student and taught him to fish, and hunt pheasant on the family farm. He graduated from Escanaba Area Senior High School and later attended Ferris State and Michigan State University graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.
He served throughout 1959-1962 as an M. P. in the U. S. Army K-9 Corps and shared a mutual bond with his German Shepherd, Baron. He was employed as an Executive Vice President at American Timber Homes throughout the 1960's, was later employed by P & H Harnischfeger crane company, and finally, began his own company, T.L.C Lawn and Landscape, serving the Escanaba area for many of his later years.
He married the late Diane Jean Savage in June of 1968 and in their time together they had two children, Michael and Jennifer. In the 1960's, Jim raced in timed road rallies in his Carroll Shelby inspired Sunbeam Tiger. Later, he liked camping in his VW pop-tops, "roughing it" with his children, along with excursions to Elkhart Lake for racing at Road America.
In 1980, he emceed the Escanaba Area Figure Skating Club's annual ice show. A dreamer and romantic at heart, he enjoyed crooners such as Nat King Cole and Johnny Mathis. He liked to downhill and cross-country ski, ice skate, and encouraged his children to be involved in many recreational activities in their youth. He taught for two years at the Intermediate School District as an assistant to Joe Hano in the building trades program where high school students constructed an entire home over the course of their instruction.
He was a member of St. Anne's Church and sang in the choir for more than twenty years.
Mr. Cleereman is survived by: son, Michael Cleereman of Gladstone; daughter, Jennifer Cleereman of Sun Prairie, WI.; sister-in-law, Sue Cleereman of Moraga, CA.; several nieces, Mary Beth Hayes of Milwaukee, Amy Cleereman of Fresno, CA., and Elin (Fekete) Hayes of Sandy Hook, CT.; and a great nephew and niece, Andrew Daane of Milwaukee, and Mairin Hayes of Williamsburg, Virginia.
He was preceded in death by his father, William Sr., in 1937; mother, Thyra, in 2000; sister, Mary, in 1985; brothers, William Jr., in 1997, and, Richard, in 2015.
Graveside services to celebrate the life of James Cleereman will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Crucifix Section, Row B, Lot 20 on Monday July 16, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. with Fr. Francis DeGroot leading with prayers and the Delta County Veterans Council rites and the U.P. Honor Guard to follow.
Arrangements are in the care of the Allo Coolman Funeral Homes.
Please visit www.allofh.com to send online condolences to his family.