James R. Huckabee went to be with the Lord February 13, 2022 at the age of 83. He was the beloved husband of Connie (nee Johnson), the loving father of Alissa (Jon) Smitley, Myndi (Morris) Hadden, and Jennifer (Scott) McKeever, the cherished grandfather of 9, the great-grandfather of 2, and treasured brother of Don (Barbara) Huckabee.
James was born in Hoxie, AR in 1938 to the most amazing parents, Bill and Maxine Huckabee. He spent most of his youth living in Oklahoma and Texas. From 1962-66, he served in the United States Army in Germany, proudly directing the Army band. After his honorable discharge, he joined his parents in Michigan and met the woman who would become his most beloved companion for the next 54 1/2 years. Together, they built a family based on love, faith, and his passion for music.
While raising his children, they spent summers on camping adventures all around Michigan. He directed choirs in many churches with both large and small congregations, but never losing sight of what the music meant to him and his relationship with the Lord. He was an accomplished pianist, and could play any keyboard instrument, along with any brass instrument, and you could hear the angels singing with Connie as they would play and sing together praising God Sunday after Sunday.
James worked as a Benefits Manager for Yarema Die and Engineering until his retirement. He spent his retirement years writing and playing his music, studying the Bible, photographing the outdoors, traveling with Connie, enjoying his grandchildren, and engaging his love for science and astronomy. He had many telescopes and could point out constellations and stars by name. He always had a story to tell, and it didn’t matter who had their ear there to listen. As the saying goes, “He never met a stranger.”
From his oldest daughter, Alissa: “I consider my father one of the smartest, most intelligent people I’ve ever known. He loved to share the science he remembered from college with us and was always reading and learning. I so loved our times at the dinner table when he would ask us various questions: What is symbiosis? Who was the first man on the moon? I remember being so excited when I first saw the phrase “simple squamous epithelium“ in a biology class, as that was the answer to one of his recurring questions. He helped foster my love for biology when he sat with 5th grade me at our table and dissected a cow's heart - I thought it was so fascinating. He never lost the wonderment of God's creation - both on earth with his birds and squirrels, as well as the heavens with his love of astronomy. He wanted to capture the beauty of it all and always had his camera ready.”
From his middle daughter, Myndi: “The bond that dad and I had with music has been such an important part of my life. We would spend hours together, as family and one-on-one, listening and singing to music, and playing our instruments in worship to God. Some of my fondest memories with dad involved walks around the block in the snow and him teaching me to drive a stick shift. He had many cars over the years, and we spent a lot of time together working on those – changing the oil, bleeding brakes, or whatever needed to be done. However, nothing surpassed his love for mom and for us kids. When I would get in trouble, which maybe was a lot, he would say, “I’m not happy with what you did, but I will always love you.” He truly meant that.”
From his youngest daughter, Jennifer: “My father had an intellectual curiosity that drove his love for music and his interest in science and religion. He would sit at his grand piano and play with a passion that made it difficult to stop listening. He cultivated aspects of those loves in all of us, for which I am grateful. Dad had a matching positivity and passion for life, based on a strong foundation of faith. He loved mom with a commitment that would challenge any husband, and he was devoted to us girls, his grandchildren and his brother with all of his heart.”
Visitation is Friday, February 18, 2022 at 11:00am until his 12:00pm funeral service at the Edward Karkoian Funeral Home, Spiller-Spitler Chapel, 836 N. Main Street, Royal Oak (248) 541-8325.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Westview Baptist Church, 2140 Stephens Road, Warren, MI 48091.
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral store.