Elms, Percy James W.

Percy James (Jim) W. Elms


Percy James (Jim) W. Elms, age 92, of Holland, Mich., passed away on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, at Oak Crest Manor of Holland. He was born on, Nov. 1, 1919, to Frank and Bertha (Staggs) Elms in the small town of Tulip. To his grandchildren he was known as Grandpa, to his great-grandchildren he was known as Grandpa Jim, but many knew him as Uncle Buster.
He graduated from Malvern High School and soon joined the United States Coast Guard. This eventually became the turning point in his life as he was stationed on Beaver Island, Mich., during WWII. It was there that he met his wife, Rita LaFreniere, and the two married on, July 23, 1942, on Beaver Island. After his enlistment was over, he and Rita started up a restaurant called Shillelagh and lived on the island for several years. It was there that he learned to dance the Irish jig, and could be easily persuaded to dance for us on occasion in his younger days.
Jim lived a rather interesting life and everyone enjoyed the great stories he had to tell. They will be remembered and passed along for future generations. He sailed the Great Lakes on the lower lakes. He sailed on the car ferries out of Ludington and eventually became a telegrapher for the C & O Railroad, the job from which he retired. He and Rita raised their family and spent most of their lives in Ludington, Mich. After he and Rita retired they took many trips with their fifth wheel and spent their winters in Texas.
Jim had many hobbies one of which was beekeeping. He enjoyed teaching the grandchildren about the hives and how the honey was made and processed. His garden kept him busy along with being a great cook. He played his harmonica and got his pilot’s license. A “jack-of-all-trades” fit him perfectly. He would tackle anything.
Jim was a very active member of St. Simon’s Catholic Church in Ludington, Mich., and belonged to Holy Cross Church on Beaver Island.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Rita; granddaughter, Theresa Elms of Kansas; his parents, Frank and Bertha Elms; five sisters, Beatrice, Jessie May, Alene, Trudie and Doris, and one brother Lawrence, all of Arkansas.
He is survived by his children, Michael and June Elms of Holland, Mich., Richard and Mary Elms of Houston, Texas, Thomas and Barbara Elms of Grand Ledge, Mich., Nancy and Don Tritsch of Beaver Island, Mich.; 12 grandchildren, Brian and Jill Elms, Colleen and David Salas, Chris and Marissa Elms, Terri and Mike Wallace, David and Michelle Elms, Tim and Jennifer Elms, Karen and Paul Johnson, Kristen Tritsch, Steven and Jodi Elms, Dale Elms, Megan and Jason VanderVlucht; 28 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Helen Pike and Lawrence McDonough of Beaver Island, Mich., many nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family will be having a memorial service this summer on Beaver Island. Burial of his cremains will be made near his wife there. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Restoration of the Beaver Island Lighthouse or to charity of one’s choice.
Please visit www.lakeshorememorial.com to leave a message or memory for the Elms family.

Published on Malvern Daily Record (http://www.malvern-online.com)

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