ESCANABA – Jim Fitzharris passed away at his home in Escanaba on Feb. 15, 2014, after a long battle with prostate cancer.
He was born March 28, 1947, in Escanaba to James Fitzharris and the former Harriett Rask. He attended St. Joseph’s School and Holy Name High School, from which he graduated in 1965. He received a business administration degree from Western Michigan University in 1969, and a bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University in 1972. He later attended graduate school at the University of Maryland. He spent two years as a VISTA volunteer in rural Arkansas.
Jim and the former Elizabeth Huyser were married on Nov. 16, 1973, in Towson, Maryland. After leaving Maryland, he and Liz lived in Arizona, Colorado, and Arkansas, where Jim directed a self-help housing project, before returning to Escanaba where he was a builder. He served 10 years on the Escanaba Housing Commission, coached Little League, and played for the Escanaba Cubs for several years.
In addition to being an honest and reliable friend, Jim was his parents’ son in many ways. His natural honesty, integrity and deep sense of fair play came directly from his father. Injustice outraged him, unwarranted privilege affronted him and, dishonesty just made no sense. His love for books and the natural world came from his mother.
He was a member of the Highland Gold Club and had a beautiful golf swing, taught to him by his father and envied by his friends. A foursome, Jim felt, was much more than a golf group – it was more like a marriage.
Jim was a supportive, loving brother and leaves behind a large group of good friends in Escanaba, many of whom he had known since early childhood.
In addition to his wife Liz, Jim is survived by his son Kevin and fiance Barb DeGrave, of Escanaba; his sister Pat and her husband Bert, of Evergreen, Colo.; his brother John of Escanaba, and sister Kerry, of Boise, Idaho; as well as several nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at the Crawford Funeral Home in Escanaba on Tuesday, Feb. 18, from 4 to 7 p.m. The family requests that memorials in Jim’s name be made to the Delta County Animal Shelter or The Friends of the Escanaba Library. The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the Fitzharris family.