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Life Story / Obituary
There is no doubt that Jim Corryn loved his family. A loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many, he leaves behind a beautiful example of living life to the fullest and giving selflessly to the community he loved. With many small acts of love and large acts of sacrifice, he gave his everything to the family he loved. He will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by all who knew and loved him.
Jim’s story begins in the midst of the 1930s when the nation was bouncing back from tough economic times. His parents, Frederick “Fritz” and Winifred (Campbell) Corryn welcomed his arrival on June 1, 1936, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born the second oldest of four boys, his birth brought joy and happiness into the family home.
Growing up in Comstock in the years following the Great Depression, Jim knew the value of hard work from an early age. He often discussed his memories of these years including walking to his cousin Louis’ home just to use his toaster! Jim and his cousins grew up close together and shared many happy childhood memories together. He was active as a kid and somehow found enough mischief to keep his parents on their toes. He even once used his mother’s record collection for skeet shooting! There was never a dull moment when Jim was around! Athletic as well, he enjoyed playing basketball, football, baseball, and track as an adolescent and, lucky for him, he enjoyed seasons where the football and basketball teams went undefeated! Never one to pass up an opportunity, he was known to skip school on occasion for a good day of fishing! Jim’s first job was working in the celery fields in Comstock for twenty-five cents an hour as a teen. His second job was working in a gas station for $1.00 an hour. At that time his duties entailed pumping gas, cleaning the car windows, and checking the oil and the air in the tires. He graduated with the Class of 1954 from Comstock High School and entered the world of work with Star Paper Company.
Jim met his first wife Morgi, while tooling around town in his friend’s car. Sometimes, Jim would play chicken and drive up the wrong side of a hill giving his trusting passengers a good scare. Morgi was always game for his wild side as well as his humor. They soon got married and had three children: Kelly, Christine, and Jennifer. He and Morgi busied themselves with raising their kids and making ends meet. He also managed to squeeze in some extra time as a bartender and a bouncer to supplement his income. A strong provider for his young family, when Star Paper closed after 19 ½ years, he went on to work at Plainwell Paper Company in the Finishing Department preparing giant rolls of paper for shipping. He later completed an apprenticeship to become a millwright, learning to repair the machinery. It was customary for Jim to work long hours including double shifts to earn extra money so his kids could attend summer camp, pay for music lessons, and have all the other extracurricular activities and things they wanted and needed. Everyone at the papermill thought Jim was the greatest guy ever. Although he wasn’t much of a talker, he always had stories of his kids to share with his coworkers. They seemed to know every bit about what his kids were up to over the years.
As a dad there simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his kids. When the kids were young, he loved taking them to the lake. He often brought the kids out to their grandparents’ home because they lived nearby. Generous with his time and resources, Jim enjoyed many years helping out with the Comstock Jaycees events, including horse shows to raise money. He was also a Camp Merrie Woode dad and helped put up tents before the season and take them back down at the end of the season. His only plane trip in life was to attend his daughter Kelly’s graduation from United States Army boot camp at Fort McClellan in Alabama. Jim often enjoyed a good meal at Big Boy for breakfast. He was such a man of routine, that he often ordered before the waitress had even finished greeting him! Always one to be counted on, Jim was always there to help his daughters. When Jennifer was older, she ended up stranded in South Haven and called him for a ride home. Unbeknownst to both of them, the popular restaurant Clementine’s where they agreed to meet had just moved. He visited several bars before he finally found her, enjoying a quick drink at each of them! He was immensely proud of each and every one of his kids.
Eventually, he and Morgi divorced yet remained friends and co-parents. Jim met his second wife, Angela, at the local bar as the only two patrons there during a snowstorm. The two of them shared many common interests. They enjoyed attending antique car shows, and even purchased a 1956 Ford Victoria themselves. They also enjoyed traveling to Michigan casinos and seeking out local bars. They enjoyed attending large family get-togethers where there was plenty of food and laughter to go around. Jim was sure to clean his plate and make several trips back to the food table making sure that no scrap of food or cup of beer was wasted! Above all else, he enjoyed the time he spent with his family.
He was a master of both idioms and profanity. His wonderful sense of humor and warm spirit will be greatly missed by his many special friends and family. He wanted nothing more than to share in the success of his children and grandchildren. He brought love and humor wherever he went.
James Corryn, age 83, died on April 10, 2020. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Thomas Edward Corryn and Michael Patrick Corryn. Surviving are his wife, Angela; three children: Kelly S. Corryn, Christine M. (Darryl) Rauhoff, and Jennifer L. (Ron) Eby; four grandchildren: Andrew, Justin, Stephanie, and Emily; one brother, Joseph (Joan) Corryn; his first wife, Morgi Stickler; two sisters-in-law: Bonnie Corryn and Sue Kunzl-Corryn; one ex-brother-in-law, Michael (Sherry) Conner; and many special nieces, nephews, stepchildren and stepgrandchildren. Cremation has taken place. Burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Visit Jim’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900.