James Lawrence Westrich, Algoma, 74, passed away at home from complications of bladder cancer on May 2, 2013.
James was born November 6, 1938 in Racine, WI, to George and Ruth Mildred (Lawrence) Westrich, graduating from St. Catherine’s High School and Spencerian School of Business in Milwaukee where he met the love of his life, Elizabeth Mary Gruber. After marrying on March 3, 1962 in Racine, WI they moved to Fort Leonard Wood, in Dixon, MO where Jim served in the Army.
He then began his 41-year career in Algoma with The Gleason Corporation which culminated in being the General Manager and Vice President of the Algoma Net Co., a position he held for the majority of his career. “Mr. Hammock” grew tiny Algoma Net Co. into national prominence as a leader in outdoor leisure products and travel bags.
“Jimbo” was a charter member of Northbrook Country Club where he spent countless hours golfing, playing cards, serving on the board, along with supporting the Evans Scholars Foundation by employing and humoring numerous caddies along the way. Additional accomplishments included 3 President’s Cup Titles, a memorable “Fathers Day” hole-in-one, and “100 holes of golf in a day” for charity.
James was active at St Mary’s Parish as a CCD Teacher, lector, fundraiser, Knights of Columbus Member and dartball player.
He served as Chairman of the Algoma Memorial Hospital Board for 4 years along with many other civic roles. He will always be remembered for his engaging personality, lengthy conversations and friendly “hello’s & waves” to all he passed while walking the town.
Jim was very proud of his wife and family and made spending time together important, especially the annual Westy Open. One of Jim and Liz’s greatest joys was traveling the world and enjoying the people they met or knew along the way. Fun times with the grandchildren included golf cart rides, walking the beach, and savoring a black cow with “Gramps.”
James is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, (Saint) Elizabeth (nee Gruber). Children Lizanne Armstrong (Kevin) of Fox Point, WI and their children Zachary, Adam, and Gabe. James II (Tricia Spellman) Westrich of Norwich, VT and their daughter Mary. Todd (Carole) Westrich of DePere, and Georganne Scherer (Kristopher) of Wayzata, MN and their children Hannah, Lucy, and Henry. Brothers Thomas (Sharon) Westrich of The Villages, FL, and George (Karen) Westrich of Racine, WI.
His parents, his sisters Nancy and Mary, nephew Timothy, and grandnephew, Andrew, preceded James in death.
Family and friends may call at St. Mary Catholic Church, 118 Church St., Algoma from 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 7th until the Mass of Christian Burial at 2:00 p.m. with Rev. William Swichtenberg officiating. Military Rites to follow the Mass at church.
He competed well, finished the race, and kept the faith, 2 Timothy 4:7.
Thank you to everyone at the The Cancer Team at Bellin Health and supportive friends. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to St. Mary’s School, 214 Church Street, Algoma, WI 54201 and/or WGA Evans Scholars Foundation, One Briar Road, Golf, IL 60029-0301.
Sign the online guest book at http://www.schinderle.com/.
The Schinderle Funeral Home, Algoma assisted the family with arrangements.