James Harry Will
May 20, 1947 – June 2, 2019
James Harry Will, age 72, passed away on June 2, 2019 after a sudden cardiac arrest at his home, following a short stay in the hospital for a heart attack.
Jim was born to Harry Jacob Will and Virginia (Heinemann) Will in Detroit, Michigan. He is survived by his mother, age 102, currently living in Florida; his devoted wife, Jacqueline; his daughter Renee Will George, her husband Jeff, and their two daughters, Dylan and Stella; and his daughter Andrea Walsh, her husband Michael, and their four children, Connor, Carolyn, Lauren and Lindsey. Jim is also survived by his older sister Nancy Muzbeck Spence, younger sister Kathleen Haas and her husband Kurt, his younger brother Robert Will and five nieces and nephews and their families.
Jim met his wife Jackie while they attended Lutheran High West in Detroit. Last summer, they celebrated their 50th year of marriage with their daughters and their families in Alaska and were looking forward to toasting their upcoming 50th anniversary on July 26th.
Jim graduated from Michigan State University, class of 1969, and from Wayne State University School of Mortuary Science. Growing up above his father’s funeral home in Detroit, Jim followed the family business, devoting his career to the funeral services. He was a compassionate funeral director and business leader, growing the Harry J. Will Funeral Homes to multiple locations in the Detroit area. Jim was thrilled and honored his brother Bob chose to go into business with him. Jim was a leader nationally in the funeral service industry, serving as president of Order of the Golden Rule, a national funeral organization, and as a member of the National Funeral Directors Association and the Michigan Funeral Directors Association where he often lobbied the state legislature on behalf of family-owned funeral homes. He was also president of the Redford Rotary Club for several years, served as chairman of the congregation for Grace Lutheran Church, and served on the Board of Directors of his Florida condo association for 18 years.
After Jim and Bob sold the Harry J. Will Funeral Homes in 1999, Jim continued as a consultant to the business. Soon after retiring to Ponce Inlet, Florida with his wife Jackie, Jim found a new passion combining his love for college football, business and travel. As a volunteer for Florida Citrus Sports, Jim traveled the country each fall, visiting college football programs to promote Orlando’s tourism and college football bowl games. Jim loved sitting in the press box, standing on the sidelines of games, and meeting with college athletic directors, coaches, and fans. For at least fifty years, Jim rarely missed a home Michigan State football game, continuing to travel to Michigan throughout the year to enjoy MSU football and basketball with his brother, family, and friends.
Jim enjoyed traveling with his wife, family and friends, exploring new foods and cultures around the world. His favorite vacation was his annual trip with Jackie to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Jim was a devoted father and grandfather. He never hesitated to help his children move and settle into their new homes whether it was a new dorm room, apartment, or a move across the country or to Europe and back. He especially loved traveling to Texas to visit his grandchildren. He was so proud of each one of his grandchildren and truly loved cheering them on at their sports games, theater performances, and recitals.
Jim was a kind, compassionate, generous, and loving man. He had a huge heart and incredible devotion to Jackie and his family. Jim will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and community.
Grace Lutheran Church
25430 Grand River, Redford, Michigan
- Visitation Saturday, June 8, 2019
- Visitation Sunday, June 9, 2019
- Funeral Service Monday, June 10, 2019
James Harry Will
have a memory or condolence to add?ADD A MEMORY
June 11, 2019
Marc and I have known Jim and Jackie since we first bought our beautiful Ponce Inlet condo back in 2001. Jackie 1st extended the hand of friendship to me and Jim immediately reciprocated with Marc. We’ve traveled the globe with both Jim and Jackie and have so many incredible and wonderful memories.
Jim will be incredibly missed by all that knew him. He was so astute in his business dealings and always had wonderful advice and counsel when asked. I know Marc and Jim thoroughly enjoyed going to Michigan State football games together and both of us enjoyed sharing a Manhattan or two along with Jackie’s amazing cooking whenever they were in town. We love you Jim!
June 10, 2019
Jim—thank you for being a wonderful uncle—I love you, miss you and will cherish my memories of you. Jackie, Renee, and Andrea I am so sorry for your loss and hope these memories help in some small way.
I remember from an early age Jim’s easy humor and captivating stories.
It was always a highlight of visits to Farmington as a kid—fun to see my cousins and to hear what great stories Uncle Jim had to tell. During my college years, a weekend visit to Jim and Jackie’s was a wonderful respite from the stress of undergrad life. I fondly remember the usual late Friday or Saturday night with Jim: a steak on the grill, a few beers, and a Bond flick on the big screen in the basement. And of course stories and tips on navigating college life! Post college I will never forget being the “wine supplier” in Chicago for all of Jim’s wine that couldn’t be shipped direct to Michigan. What a great bargain for me—hold on to some wine and get a nice dinner out for more great conversation when he stopped by to pick up the goods. Jim’s “toast master” gift—a skill I always admired and appreciated—his way of finding the right words for every situation whether happy, sad, or silly (“is it all just family here?”—we know the rest). He was a wonderful uncle—fun, wise, caring—characteristics I hope to emulate as an uncle to my nieces and nephews.
These happy memories of Jim will always be with me—I love him, miss him and will never forget him.
Martha and Harold Hamlin
June 10, 2019
We just recently had the privilege of getting to know Jim as a friend and a travel partner. Such a kind thoughtful man with a great sense of humor! He was sincerely interested in getting to know you on a personal level, wanting to know more about you, your work and family. We have wonderful memories! He will certainly be missed by us and many more. We offer our sincere condolences and prayers to Jackie and his family.
June 8, 2019
Rest In Peace, classmate!
June 7, 2019
Jim was a good friend and Fraternity Brother. Jim was one of the founding members of Tau Delta Phi and together we had some wonderful experiences and memories.
I will miss him.
June 7, 2019
Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
Jim was always friendly, respectful, and dignified whenever he was in town and I got to interact with him at our Redford location. He leaves a great legacy in many areas, especially funeral service. His name will be mentioned for many years to come.
Tracy Spiess, Funeral Director / Manager
Harry J. Will Funeral Home in Redford Township
Bill & Ethel Larsen
June 7, 2019
Our thoughts are with our dear friend Kathy and the entire Will family at this time of loss. May the love of family and friends give you comfort and your faith in God give you peace.
June 6, 2019
I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Jim through Florida Citrus Sports. Jim loved scouting his alma mater, Michigan State, but was also willing to travel to any school. Every fall, he would let me know his travel schedule and when he would be in Texas or Michigan visiting family. We would look at the college football schedule and see if he could squeeze a game into his trip. Over the years, Jim visited no shortage of schools for us including: Baylor, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, NC State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M and West Virginia. We could always count on Jim to represent our games in the best possible manner and with a smile on his face. I will miss seeing his face at our weekly Monday Morning Meetings. Jim would drive over an hour almost every Monday during college football season to attend an hour long breakfast - that's how dedicated he was to our organization. He was a gem of a member. I will miss him dearly.
To Jim's family, thank you for sharing him with us and allowing him to devote so much time to our organization. We are so sorry for your loss.
June 4, 2019
Dearest Jacki, Renee, Andrea and Family.
Cyndee and I send our heartfelt condolences for your profound loss. We were deeply saddened when we received the news of Jim’s passing. Such fond memories we have of fun times spent with your family.
Wine tasting in Napa for Renee’s wedding. The moose crashing the party at Andrea’s in Park City. Great dinners at Emeril’s in Orlando, fun on Trust 100 trips and visiting in your home in Ponce Inlet and you in ours in Sarasota. Jim made the party! He lived life well! We were privileged to have been a part of it.
We know that your hearts are broken. Take comfort in the great family times together. And know this: “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
Jim wove himself deeply into our lives and we are grateful for that. Rest in His peace, Jim.