William “Bill” John James, Jr., 96, passed away peacefully at Hospice of the Valley Hospice House on December 11, 2020.
Bill was born July 6, 1924, in Youngstown, son of Florence Elizabeth Wilkes James and William John James, Sr.
He attended Cleveland Elementary and Princeton Junior High Schools, working at the latter as school custodian during the Great Depression. He graduated from South High School in 1942.
Bill served in the World War II Naval Pacific Theater from 1943-1946,first as Seaman on the destroyer escort, USS Dionne, and then as Shipfitter Second Class on the seaplane tender,USS Norton Sound. Both ships saw combat and received six and two battle stars, respectively, for their service.
Once discharged, Bill returned to Youngstown. On March 25, 1947, he married his childhood sweetheart, Erma Ruth Mumaw, with whom he cherished nearly 49 years of marriage until her death in 1995.Together, they enjoyed bowling, roller skating, and ballroom dancing at Idora Park—especially the polka. They were active, philanthropic members of Wickliffe Presbyterian Church, where they donated a baptismal font in honor of their children. When they relocated to Springfield Township, Bill joined the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department, EMT and Rescue Squads. He coached Little League Baseball and enjoyed golfing.
Bill worked for a short time at Youngstown Sheet and Tube’s Brier Hill Works and Youngstown Steel Door before apprenticing in the sheet metal trade. He retired from Sheet Metal Workers Union Local #33 in 1986.
In later years, Bill married the former Betty Lundberg of Columbiana, who predeceased him in 2016. Bill attended the First Christian Church of Columbiana, where he met and treasured many friends, including the “Poolies” at Firestone Pool. He also joined the Historical Society of Columbiana and Fairfield Township, where he served a term as vice-president. He was a member of American Legion Post 290.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Ruth Ferguson Ott of Canfield and Virginia Garret of Ukiah, CA.
He is survived by one sister, Eleanor Talmage of Hardin, MT; his children, Bonnie (Christopher) Shaker of Niles and Bill (Lori) James III of Poland; grandchildren, Amber (Jason) Gray, Billy John James IV, Dana Shaker (and Sam); and great grandchildren, Bryce, Ian, Brayden, and Lorelei. He leaves many beloved nephews, nieces, and friends.
Bill is interred alongside his wife, Erma, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. Per his wishes, public viewing and services were suspended. He requested material tributes be directed to Akron Children’s Hospital, Youngstown, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
Condolences to Bill’s family may be sent to Seederly - Mong & Beck Funeral Home, 154 South Elm Street, PO Box 1
Columbiana, OH 44408, or by visiting www.seederly-mongandbeck.com.
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