Thomas R. James, 74, of Elkhart, IN., passed away at 8:00 a.m. June 24, 2020 in his residence.
Tom was born on March 2, 1946 in South Bend, IN., to Joseph and Ella (Molnar) James, who both have preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by a brother, Kay James.
Tom is survived by a daughter, Jill James-Laudeman and her husband Don of Elkhart. Tom is also survived by a nephew, Steve (Pam) James, niece, Mary (Rick) Karenke, nephew, Ken (John Billo) James and great nieces and nephews along with a sister in law, Ellen James.
He was an altar boy growing up and going to Catholic School before graduating from Central High School where he went his senior year. Tom was a driver/salesman for Coca-Cola for 40 years. He served as Union Steward of Local 364 for many years. He served in the National Guard right of high school. He was a member of the St. Joseph Valley Ski Club, St Joseph Valley Street Rod Association, The Maennerchor Club in South Bend and St. Pius X Catholic Church.
Tom moved down to Florida after retirement and loved it there. The only thing he loved more were his neighbors, Jose and Ileana Nodal and their daughters, Ashley and Megan. After Tom was in Florida for a couple of years he developed diabetes and underwent many surgeries. His wonderful friends that he thought of as family, the Nodal's took care of not only him by visiting him daily for several months in the hospital, but also cared for his home and his beloved dog Jack and bird Ziggy. He couldn't have been taken care of any better by blood than he was by them. We will be eternally grateful for all of their love and support over the years. Tom moved back to Indiana to live with Don and Jill. Tom's health declined more over the last couple of years but moved into a new home with his own apartment for him and his beloved dog Layla that never left his side until passing.
Tom enjoyed the good things in life and loved to have fun doing it. Tom loved to tailgate at Notre Dame Football games, racing boats on Donnell Lake with his best buddy Ray Owens, buying muscle cars (that drove his daughter nuts), riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, or going to street rod shows to show off his newest toy he bought. Notice I said bought, if Tom couldn't fix it with a hammer he had to pay to have it done. He met many friends over the course of the years being a Coca-Cola driver. His daughter couldn't do anything wrong without her daddy getting a call. His life was full and he had a good one.
I can't thank my husband, Don Laudeman enough for all of the love and care that he gave to my dad over the years. There aren't many men that would step up and do the things that he did to make sure that my dad was taken care of so well and was so welcomed into our home and life. There is no way I could have ever done it by myself.
Visitation for Tom will be on Monday, June 29th, from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Palmer Funeral Home - Bubb Chapel, 3910 North Main Street, Mishawaka.
A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, with one hour of visitation beginning at 3:00 p.m. until service time at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 52553 Fir Road Granger, IN 46530. Father Nathan Maskal will officiate the services. Memorial contributions can be made to Elara Caring Hospice, 2515 North Bendix Drive, Suite 103, South Bend, IN 46628. On line condolences can be made at palmerfuneralhomes.com
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