James Leo VACHOW

January 24, 1939June 3, 2019

James Leo Vachow died June 3, 2019 in Austin, TX. He was born January 24, 1939 in Ludington, MI to Leo and Jean (née Seward) Vachow.

Jim grew up in Mackinaw City, MI and graduated from Mackinaw City Public Schools. He received a BS and MS in Counseling from Central Michigan University. In 1963 he married Danielle M. Dyer and they had two children, Michael James and Kristen Margaret.

Jim was employed by Oscoda Area Public Schools from 1964-1974 as a Middle School Counselor and later as their first Elementary School Counselor. Jim served on the state committee which developed the standards for Elementary School Counselors in Michigan. He was employed by Marshall Public schools from 1974-1994. During that time, he served as Middle School Counselor, Elementary School Principal, and High School Counselor.

Upon retiring from public schools in 1994, Jim and Danielle moved to Suttons Bay, MI where Jim became Director of Counseling at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, MI. While at IAA he led the staff using a consensus model to make various changes at IAA. Jim regarded his years at IAA as a highlight in his career. When Jim retired from IAA he joined his wife, Danielle, in running their business, Busha’s Brae Herb Farm, mowing a vast lawn, building a picket fence around the shop, hauling mulch, entering sales in a computer, parking cars for visitors, and more.

One more job filled his love of the outdoors. He worked for the Leelanau Conservancy monitoring properties on the beautiful Leelanau Peninsula. Sun, rain, or snow did not stop him.

In 2017 Jim and Danielle moved to Austin, TX to be near family during his illness.

Jim will be much remembered for his ability to tell stories especially featuring the shenanigans of his childhood. Several of his written stories can be found in the archives of the Central Michigan University History Museum.

Jim was predeceased by his parents Leo and Jean Vachow and brother Kevin Vachow. Surviving are his wife, Danielle, and children Michael Vachow and Kristen Phillips; brother Jon Vachow and sister Jo Kendall; grandchildren Carlyn Vachow and Christopher Vachow; nieces Nicole Rehfus, Rene Vachow, Robyn Malari, Becky Smith, and Anna Boyd; and nephews Jeff Vachow and Jess Kendall.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 24, 2019 at 11 am at the Suttons Bay Congregational Church in Suttons Bay, Michigan. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Leelanau Conservancy, Leland, MI.


24 August

Memorial Service

11:00 am

Suttons Bay Congregational Church

218 W Madison Street
Suttons Bay, Michigan


James Leo VACHOW

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Janet & Chuck Whetsel

June 19, 2019

We met Jim and Danielle back in 1963 at CMU when they moved into the apartment above us in married housing. To save money we shared a phone (no cellphones then) which led to a frightening mixup.

The police called our number, Chuck answered and heard, “Your wife has been in a car accident while carpooling to work. She’s at the Mt. Pleasant Hospital.”

Wanting moral support he ran upstairs and got Jim to accompany him .

After a few questions posed by the state policeman it was clear something wasn’t quite right. The car Janet left in wasn’t the car in the accident! When Jim asked if the car involved was a Ford, and it was, he realized it was his wife, Danielle getting the stitches in her forehead!

We remained friends these past 50+ years. We shared many happier things with them including a 10 day trip to Alaska!

His smiling face, infectious laughter, empathy, love and understanding will be deeply missed.

Condolences to the Vachow family.

Janet & Chuck Whetsel

William Johnson

June 14, 2019

We were sad to learn of Jim's passing. What a wonderful guy! I am sure he was a mighty fine husband and dad. We were fortunate enough to stay in touch with Jim & Danielle over many decades, usually at Christmas time.
Jim was a strong influence on me during some important times in my life while a student at CMU. He made a big impact on me and the decisions I made at the time. I am forever grateful for his involvement in my life.
God's blessings to the entire family. We will be at the memorial service in Suttons Bay. Bill & Judy Johnson

Dieter Hunter

June 6, 2019

Danielle, Kris, and Mike:

I was so sorry when Mike informed me of Jim's passing. He was always my favorite "adult" to speak with when I was in school. A truly good man, and great role model.