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James Edward Sroka

August 18, 1939 March 11, 2012
James Edward Sroka
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Obituary for James Edward Sroka

James Edward Sroka, of Tyrone, Twp., passed away suddenly Sunday morning after an aortic aneurysm.
He was 72 years old.

He was born in Detroit on August 18, 1939. He went to St. Peter and Paul grade School and graduated from Cody High. He volunteered for service with the U.S. Army from 1958-1960 then served four more years in the Army Reserve. In the early 60's, he went to work for Fisher Body Division of General Motors, and in 1963 began his 39-year career as an automotive engineer with Chrysler Motors. In May of 1961, he met Frances Abate and less than a year later they married, in January of 1962. Over the next 7 years they had 5 children. While raising his family, he attended many years of night school to earn a BA in Business from Lawrence Institute of Technology.

Jim had a knack for the way things worked. He was self-taught and as his young family grew, he learned the skills he needed to care for their expanding home. When his children were teens, he carefully taught each of them how to maintain their cars. They were apprentices for all of his projects and learned by watching him. His family knew that "papa-will-fix-it" whenever something needed repair. Always generous with his talents, nothing gave him more pleasure than helping out neighbors and friends.

Jim enjoyed 10 great years of retirement and could often be heard saying, "I never realized the sky was so blue" or "Every day is Saturday." He took up golf, something he loved to do with his only son, Jim. His days were filled with tinkering -- building model airplanes, putzing in his polebarn, wrenching on the Minneapolis Moline or whatever house project he and Fran happened to be doing together. He became fond of exploring the library and trading "free" books and movies. He enjoyed living on Lake Tyrone, teaching his grandchildren to fish and giving rides on his pontoon boat to anyone willing. He was filled with gratitude for each and every day. But his greatest joy was just being with his wife Fran, who he often told "was so beautiful, he loved so much and was so incredibly lucky to be married to."

Patient, kind, generous and easy to love, his home was a natural gathering place, open to all. His smiling blue eyes made everyone feel happy and welcome. He was the greatest dad, a proud grandfather and a devoted husband who never grew weary of waltzing with the love of his life.

In addition to his wife of 50 years, he is survived by daughters, Margaret Bornais, Kathryn (Joe) Audia, Jeanne (Mark) Chapman, Sue (Aaron) Graves and son James; 7 grandchildren Claire, Anthony and Ellen Audia, Audrey and Charlotte Chapman and Henry and Charles Graves; his many dear family and friends including a special group known as "The Pea Brains."

He will be so very deeply missed.

Visitation will be held at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 404 E. Liberty St., Milford, on Thursday, March 15, from 3-9PM and Friday, March 16, from 9AM until the time of the funeral service at 10AM. Burial will follow at Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly. For further information please phone 248-684-6645.

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