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James Richard "Jimbo" Pike

February 28, 1943 - January 17, 2019
Grand Rapids, MI

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Visitation

Monday, January 21, 2019
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions

Visitation

Monday, January 21, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions

Visitation

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST
Highland Hills Baptist Church
1415 Northrup Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-4400

Service

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
11:00 AM EST
Highland Hills Baptist Church
1415 Northrup Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Visitation

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST
Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Chapel
3000 Monroe Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 361-2613

Service

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
1:00 PM EST
Grand Rapids Home For Veterans Chapel
3000 Monroe Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 361-2613
Map

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Friends of Michigan Veterans Homes Inc.
P.O. Box 805
Grandville Ave., MI 49468-0805

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, James “Jimbo” Pike lived a life of service to others. He was accompanied by an unwavering faith, and his smile was one that brought so much happiness to those around him. Jim worked hard, but he made the time to enjoy life along the way, too. He loved pulling practical jokes, and his zest for life was contagious. Although he faced trials, Jim’s strength and courage were admirable. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.

During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. Countless young servicemen and women had answered the call to serve, and back home rationing became a way of life. It was during this eventful time that Lowell A. and Louise (Mull) Pike were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named James Richard on February 28, 1943, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The oldest of three, he was raised in the family home on Coggswell Street, NW alongside his siblings, James, David, his sister Kathleen died at birth.. His father was a warehouse worker while his mother was a busy homemaker. Jim attended local schools including Fairview Elementary School and then graduated from Union High School in 1960.

Throughout his life Jim was one to work hard. His first job was bussing tables at Big Boy Restaurant on Plainfield Avenue in Grand Rapids. Jim was later drafted into the United States Army during the Vietnam War, serving from 1967 until his discharge in 1969. He was assigned to 864 Engineer battalion, building roads and bridges. With his military duties fulfilled, Jim returned to civilian life and spent time working as a lens grinder at Kent Optical Company. He later took a job with Bergsma Furniture where he worked for 20 years as a janitor, running a hi-low, and also running the elevator. Serving in Vietnam took its toll on Jim, and he suffered with PTSD and other health issues for the rest of his life.

New and exciting changes were in store for Jim when he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Betty Ellsworth, and they were set up on a date by her friend, Gwen Peterson. That first date took place at a church dinner. They went on to date for eight months and soon found themselves deeply in love. With the desire to spend the rest of their lives together Jim and Betty were married on July 8, 1972, at Leonard Heights Baptist Church. The newlyweds then took a honeymoon to Ottawa, Canada.

Throughout his life Jim was known for his servant’s heart. Not long after marrying, the couple became members of Highland Hills Baptist Church. There, Jim helped with the Boys Brigade, which is a youth group. After his wife had been volunteering at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans for a few years, Jim began to do the same. He regularly helped out at dinners, the annual carnival, and wheeling the vets to chapel services on Sundays. In addition, Jim was active with Vietnam Veterans of America, regularly attending the meetings. He served as past president of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 18 and for years he helped out at Festival of the Arts in downtown Grand Rapids. Jim and Betty traveled to Washington, D.C., Richmond and Hampton, Virginia, Arlington, Texas, and Southern California for Vietnam Veterans of America. He also attended the annual unit reunion with the his group, the 864 Engineer Battalion.

Over the years Jim was a man of many interests. He loved reading the newspaper and watching the news on television as it was important for him to remain up on current events. Jim loved country gospel music, the Gaithers, and John Steer among others. He collected die cast cars and ended up with a collection of more than 100. Although he was a meat and potatoes kind of man, he rarely found a food he didn’t like. Among his favorites were Arnie’s Restaurant ribs, salisbury steak, and his all time favorite food was blueberry pie.

After having suffered with diabetes for years, Jim developed further health issues. He eventually ended up with heart problems, which later left him wheelchair bound for the past few years. Betty took care of him for years, but when it became too much for her Jim moved to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans where he received superb care, was known by many, and made numerous friends. For the past year, he had been under hospice care during which time his health further diminished.

Through the life he lived each day, James “Jimbo” Pike touched the lives of so many around him in such a special way. He had a great sense of humor and loved making those around him laugh. Jim was fully dedicated to his faith, and he had a genuine servant’s heart. Dearly loved, he will be forever missed.

James Richard Pike, aged 75 of Grand Rapids, passed away on Thursday morning, January 17, 2019 at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lowell and Louise Pike, and his sister, Kathleen A. Pike. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Betty Pike (Ellsworth); his brother David (Linda) Pike; in-laws, Neva (Allen) Miller, Maxine (Dave) Dawson, Jim (Michelle) Ellsworth, Karen (Marion) Raines, Joyce (William) Lester; several nieces, nephews and friends. James honorably served his country in the US Army during the Vietnam War with the 864 Engineer Battalion. He was a longtime member of Highland Hills Baptist Church, and volunteered for many years at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. A service to celebrate Jim’s life will be held on Tuesday, January 22 at 11:00 am at Highland Hills Baptist Church, 1415 Northrup Ave. NW. Burial in Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet his family on Monday Jan. 21, from 2:00 – 4:00 and 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Heritage Lifestory Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, and again at the church on Tuesday from 10:00 am until the service begins at 11:00 am. There will also be a memorial service at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Chapel, 3000 Monroe Ave. NE, on Wednesday at 1:00 pm with visitation from 12:00 noon until the service begins at 1:00 pm. Contributions in his memory may be made to Friends of Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. To read more about Jim’s life, to leave your own memory of him and to sign his guest book, visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com.

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