Gleason, James Ernest passed away June 28th following a long illness. He was born April 5, 1935 in Saline, Michigan, the eldest of six children of Lucile Schafer Gleason and Rex E. Gleason. Jim married Georgia Claire Roche in 1964. They had two children, Katharine (Katie) and Patrick. A third child, Alvin Hill, was informally adopted as a young adult.
Jim had a lifelong interest in learning. After graduation from Saline High School he attended Michigan State University on a 4-H scholarship. A few years after graduation he returned to school and received a Master’s in Agricultural Economics from the University of Massachusetts. At the age of 40 he returned once again to school, this time at Cooley Law.
As a young adult Jim discovered a love of travel and cultural exchange. After his college graduation he spent six months in Austria as a participant with the International Farm Youth Exchange Program. This experience was followed by work as group leader, taking two different groups of high school students to Austria and Germany with the Experiment in International Living. Later, in the 1976 he took his family back to visit many of the people he had met and worked with as a part of these programs. In a further nod to cultural exchange Jim and his wife Georgia sponsored three high school exchange students, Mike Meyer from Denmark, Berndt Korner from Austria, and Yoko Lampert from Japan. They also provided the opportunity for their three oldest grandchildren to participate in exchange programs in Thailand, Nepal and Germany as high school students.
After completing his master’s degree Jim farmed with his father for six years on a dairy farm in Whitmore Lake, before leaving to work for the State of Michigan as an Agricultural Economist. While on the farm he was chosen to be a Kellogg Farmer, a program designed to educate young farmers about farming practices in several parts of the world. As part of this program he participated in a travel program that took him to Europe, Asia, and Africa. At the age of 43 he graduated from Cooley Law School and set up a law practice in Hamburg, Michigan where he worked until he retired.
Jim and Georgia took many wonderful vacations, travelling to Europe, Africa, Japan and South America. In addition to his love of travel Jim was known as a voracious reader; a proficient and adventuresome cook, serving up gazpacho and peach dumplings with equal enthusiasm; and had a deep appreciation for art, especially paintings, acquiring an extensive collection of works by local and Latin American artists. He will be remembered for all of his many interests, but most of all he will be remembered as a kind, loving, tolerant, and supportive husband, father and friend.
He is survived by his wife Georgia Gleason; sister Nancy Fisher and brother David Gleason; children Katie (Patrick Gurian), Patrick (Evelyn), and Alvin (Ingrid) Hill; grandchildren James and Anna Gurian, Irvin Garay, and Anton Hill; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his mother Lucille, father Rex, sisters Donna and Susan, and brother Ray.
Memorial services will be held at Webster United Church of Christ, 5484 Webster Church Rd, Dexter, Michigan on Thursday, July 8th. A gathering for family and friends will be held from 10:00-12:00, followed by a service at 12:00 noon. (Please note masks are required upon entry at Webster United Church of Christ.)
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Michigan 4-H Foundation (https://mi4hfdtn.org/donate/), Webster United Church of Christ (https://www.websterchurch.org/give), and the Hamburg Township Library (https://www.hamburglibrary.org/about/FAQ.html#collapse8).
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