November 18, 2017

In Memoriam: James Vantine

VANTINE, JR. ESQ. J.D., JAMES GILBERT PORTAGE, MI Jim was born in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania in 1953. Always precocious and enterprising, upon learning at the age of 3 that the family would be moving to Royal Oak, Michigan, the tot grabbed a pillowcase and went “Trick or Treating” in July. Jim graduated with a National Honor Society cord from Kimball High School where he performed the roles of Othello, Dr. Finsdale from “Lil’ Abner” and Nathan Detroit from “Guys and Dolls” and was nearly expelled for impersonating the Pope on Senior Dress-Up Day. He was also in the Symphonic and Marching bands as a tubist. His love of music remained a lifelong passion including many years in the Kalamazoo Concert Band.

Jim continued his academic career at Michigan State University majoring in Social Studies and Pre-Law. He found time to dance the “Baby Elephant Walk” on television playing a Sousaphone in the MSU Spartan Marching Band. Points of pride were his Phi Beta Kappa key and summa cum laude degree. Jim acquired his cum laude Juris Doctor degree at Wayne State University while being an editor for the Wayne Law Review and a recipient of the “William D. Traitel Scholarship” and a Silver Scholarship Key. Jim moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan and joined the law firm of “Brown, Coleman and DeMent” and later “Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone” where he was a partner.

Jim was a dedicated and generous attorney, respected by clients and colleagues, being voted to join the ranks of “Best Lawyers in America” and “Super Lawyers”. He was admitted to practice before the Supreme Courts of the United States, the State of Michigan and the State of Indiana. Jim loved his work and his corner office.

In 1978 Jim married Terry McCabe and they welcomed Patrick James Edward into the family in 1996. Among many memorable family trips was one with the National Geographic Society on a dinosaur dig. Jim was a voracious reader and a student of the “cold war” with hundreds of books and artifacts in his collection, which he donated to the Waldo Library at Western Michigan University. The Smithsonian Institution arranged a tour of Los Alamos and nearby sites for the 50th anniversary of the first nuclear bomb test. Jim and Terry were among 20 people at the site of the original explosion. Jim took his Geiger counter.

Jim passed away after a long and difficult illness. He will be missed very much by Terry Vantine (McCabe); his son, Patrick James Edward Vantine; his sisters, Sharyn Vantine and Nancy Taylor (Vantine); his brother-in-law, John Taylor; his sister-in-law,, Tracy Partyka (McCabe) and her husband, Leonard Partyka and nieces, Lynn Taylor and Kim Bierman. He will be remembered with deep love for his intelligence, compassion and humor.

The Memorial Service to celebrate Jim’s life will be held on Thursday, October 26th at 11:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 8047 Church Street, Richland, MI 49083 with the Rev. Dr. Mark W. Jennings, officiating. Jim’s family will greet friends in the Fireplace Room of the Church from 10:00 a.m. until service time. Immediately following the Service, a reception will be held with small plates and beverages.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Jim’s honor may be directed to the Kalamazoo Symphony, the Kalamazoo Concert Band or the Gilmore Community Healing Center. The Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Richland Chapel is assisting Jim’s family with his arrangements. The family wishes to thank Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan for their sensitive care of Jim during his illness. Personal messages and/or favorite memories of Jim may be place at www.farleyestesdowdle.com