Thomas James “Jim” Van Assche, 92, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., and formerly of Fayette, Ohio, died Feb. 21, 2011, surrounded by loved ones at his home.
Jim was born Nov. 2, 1918, in Dearborn to the late Albert and Anna (Ritterstorf) Van Assche. On Oct. 28, 1942, in Dearborn, he married Geraldine Merillat and she survives.
Jim spent his early life and raised his family in the Dearborn area, where he worked for Ford Motor Company, and later founded and operated Van Assche & Sons Construction. In 1974, he moved to rural Fayette, where he and Gerri made their home until May 2009.
He was an active and devoted parishioner of St. Sebastion Catholic Church in Dearborn and Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Fayette. He was skilled in woodworking and carpentry, enjoyed gardening, and was blessed with an ever-witty sense of humor that could always make a person smile.
Jim served his country as a member of the United States Army during World War II.
In addition to his wife, Jim is survived by three sons, T. James II (and Kathy) Van Assche of Romulus, Mich., Robert (and Barb) Van Assche of Dearborn Heights, and Donald (and Sandy) Van Assche of Dearborn Heights; four daughters, Betty (and Frank) DeMilde of Dearborn Heights, Judith Collins of Dearborn Heights, Geraldine (and Brad) Rupp of Quincy, Mich., and Paula (and Glennis) Ferguson of Fayette; a brother, Eugene (and Virginia) VanAssche of Dearborn; a sister, Marie AuBuchon of Apache Junction, Ariz.; 36 grandchildren and 57 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Norbert, Andrew, and Robert; and a son-in-law, Michael Collins.
A Mass of Christian Burial is planned at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, at St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Dearborn, with Father Jeffrey Day as celebrant. Military interment will take place at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield. Visitation is scheduled from 1 to 9 p.m. Wednesday the Hackett-Metcalf Funeral Home in Dearborn.