The Traverse City communty is mourning the loss of former Mayor James "Jim" Tompkins, who died Thursday from complications of leukemia.
Tompkins, 81, was well known for his dedication and service to Traverse City, both through city leadership positions and through his volunteer work.
Visitation will take place at Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home from 4-7 p.m. Friday, June 6. A service celebrating Jim's life will be held Saturday, June 7 at 2 p.m. at the Reynolds-Jonkoff Funeral Home with with Military Honors.
Burial will be in Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens.
The full obituary is below:
Former Traverse City Mayor, James F. "Jim" Tompkins Jr., 81, died May 29, 2014, at his Traverse City home from complications of leukemia.
Born December 22, 1932, in Saginaw, Michigan, he was the son of James F. & Rosemary (Davitt) Tompkins. In Traverse City on December 12, 1951, he married his beloved wife of over 62 years, Ida Hill, who survives.
Jim lived in Traverse City since shortly after World War II, having moved here with his mother & father who opened the Western Auto Store in downtown Traverse City. He graduated from Traverse City Central High School in 1950. In June 2007 Jim & Ida were inducted into the "TCCHS Hall of Fame", and in September 2013 at the Constitution Celebration Event they were recognized as a "Founding Father & Mother". Jim was proud to have been selected 2010 "Veteran of the Year" by the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition.
Jim enlisted in the United States Air Force in March of 1951 during the Korean War - he was honorably discharged in March of 1955. As a member of the Strategic Air Command, he served overseas in the United Kingdom, and also in North Africa. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant and served as a crew chief for B-47 bombers engaged in cold war operations. He was a member of the Korean War Veterans Association, a life member of the American Legion, and also served as a member of the Grand Traverse County Veterans Affairs Board.
Jim selected this quote about his Air Force days: "It was dangerous work, and the planes built for SAC, like the B-47 and B-52 were ventures into the aeronautics unknown. Crashes and deaths were a regular feature of SAC duty. The men who maintained and flew its planes hadn't won the cold war, but they had kept us from losing it. Such dedication to dangerous work on the part of everyone involved in the Strategic Air Command deserves to be recognized and honored. Thanks to Mr. Keeney it now is." (from book review '15 minutes: General Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation', by L. Douglas Keeney.)
He was employed by the City of Traverse City for 25 years beginning in February 1965, serving as City Clerk from 1976 until his retirement in December 1989. Jim was elected to the City Commission in November 1989, commencing his first of three four year terms in December 1989. He was elected by his fellow commissioners to three one year terms as Traverse City Mayor in 1991, 1995, and 1999. He was proud of his City, proud of his State and most of all proud to be an American.
Along with his wife, Ida, Jim is survived by his beloved daughter, Mary Ann and her husband George Galic of Traverse City, and one brother Peter and his wife Patricia, of Amarillo, Texas.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Rosemary Tompkins, who died in 1988 and his father, James "Forbes" Tompkins in 2008.
Friends may call at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home from 4:00PM until 7:00PM Friday June 6, 2014 .A service celebrating Jim's life will be held on Saturday June 7, at 2:00PM at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home with Military Honors. Burial will be in Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens
In remembrance, memorial contributions may be directed to: Korean War Veterans Association - NW MI Chapter, American Legion -Bowen Holliday Post 35 or the Veterans of Foreign Wars Cherryland Post 2780.
Please visit www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com to share your memories of Jim.