James Kinard

Obituary of James Kinard

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James Michael Kinard was born on January 19, 1949, in Highland Park, Michigan. He was one of three children born from the union of William Terrill and Clara Elizabeth (Hopper) Kinard.  Jim, as he became commonly known, graduated from Melvindale High School with the class of 1967. Shortly after graduation, he courageously answered the call to serve his nation and enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served with the utmost bravery from 1968-1972. 


He married the love of his life, the former, Mary Kotlarczyk on September 28, 1974. The couple was blessed with the birth of two children. To provide for his family, Jim joined his father in the family business “Bill’s Cutter Grinding”, as a tool and die maker. With a passion for his craft, he faithfully dedicated over forty years to the business ensuring its continued success that spanned generations. 


Beyond his commitment to the family business, Jim selflessly served the city of Melvindale in various capacities. In the 1970s and 1980s, he took on the role of recreation commissioner, tirelessly working to provide opportunities and enhance the quality of life for the city's residents. Jim’s passion for public service led him to be elected as Mayor Pro Tem of the city council in the mid-1980s, an office he held with integrity. His diligent efforts and dedication fostered the growth and development of Melvindale.


A testament to his leadership and commitment, Jim was bestowed the honor of serving as the Mayor of Melvindale from 1995 to 2003. During his tenure, he spearheaded numerous initiatives that contributed to the prosperity and well-being of the community. His vision and tenacity ensured the city continued to thrive and flourish under his guidance.


In addition to his momentous public service, Jim had a profound impact on the lives of young Melvindale residents. For twelve years, he served as a Little League baseball coach, instilling values of teamwork, sportsmanship, and resilience in the hearts of budding athletes. Jim's dedication extended beyond the baseball field, as he also served on the board of the Melvindale Athletic Booster Association, ensuring support and opportunities for athletes at all levels.


A man of deep faith, Jim dedicated his time as the youth group advisor for the Melvindale Methodist Church. His guidance, wisdom, and compassion touched countless lives, shaping the future of many young people. He became a member of the Allen Park Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder and an usher. 


Recognized for his leadership and exceptional skills, Jim was appointed as the chairman of the Downriver Community Council, where he fostered collaboration and worked thoroughly to address common challenges that faced the region. As a member of the Melvindale Kiwanis Club, he also served as a Key Club advisor alongside his beloved wife, Mary, offering support in the Melvindale schools.


Despite facing personal heart related challenges, Jim managed to successfully land three hole-in-ones in his lifetime. His first hole-in-one was with his failing heart, the second one was while he was wearing an L-VAD heart pump machine, which his family referred to as his “man purse”, and the third hole-in-one was after his heart transplant.  It was quite evident that Jim refused to allow his heart issues to hold him back from a sport he loved. Jim inspired many, and his life was certainly a testament on many levels that ​anything is possible with the right attitude, determination, and a little bit of help along the way. In fact, the Grosse Ile Grand Multimedia News Magazine wrote an article about this phenomenal feat. 


Jim took great pride in his appearance, and he believed looking his best was important. He was very particular about not just his hair, but his eyebrows as well. He was most often seen dressed to impress, but on occasion, when hanging out with his grandchildren, he might be caught wearing a T-shirt and shorts.  


Jim's legacy is one of unwavering commitment, selflessness, and tireless dedication to the betterment of his community. His genuine love for Melvindale and its residents shaped the lives of many, leaving a lasting impact that will be remembered for generations to come.


James Michael “Jim” Kinard, age 74, of Grosse Ile, passed away at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor on Sunday; July 23, 2023, while under the constant care of his family with the assistance of his U of M team. His passing was preceded by his parents; a son: Richard Joseph; a brother: William Charles Kinard; and a brother-in-law: Sonny Rees.


To cherish his memory, he leaves his wife of forty-eight years: Mary; a daughter: BethAnn (Mike) Taylor; a son: Steven (Bonnie) Kinard; six grandchildren: 

Brooke & Mia Taylor, Emma, Ellie, Vada, and Stuart Kinard; a sister: Patricia Ann Rees; and a sister-in-law: Judith Kinard.


His care has been entrusted to Merkle Funeral Service, North Monroe; 2442 North Monroe Street, Monroe, Michigan 48162 (734) 384-5185.  Friends may gather on August 16, 2023, from 2:00 PM until 8:00 PM at Martenson Family of Funeral Homes, Allen Park Chapel; 10915 Allen Road, Allen Park, Michigan 48101. A Celebration of His Life, led by Pastor Keith Provost of Allen Park Presbyterian Church will take place on August 17, 2023, at 10:00 AM also at Martenson, Allen Park.  Cremation will take place through Merkle’s on-site crematory, Covenant Cremation of Erie, Michigan. 


Online guests may visit www.merklefs.com to leave words of inspiration and comfort or to share a photo. ​

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