James J. Harper, 83, formerly of Massillon, more recently of Bolivar, passed away peacefully in the presence of his children, on Friday afternoon, July 5, 2019. Born on the family farm in Monroe County, Ohio, November 26, 1935, a son to the late Royden R. and Sarah (Egger) Harper, his family relocated to the Massillon area before Jim entered school. He graduated from Washington High School with the Class of 1953 and had been a member of the Massillon Tiger “Swing” Band. He completed three years of undergraduate studies at Ohio University before returning to Massillon and joining his dad in the building trades and new home construction. Largely self-taught, Jim became a skilled woodworker and craftsman who earned his living in part, as a carpenter, cabinet maker and furniture maker. He also worked as an installer for WES Sound Systems. A loving husband and a devoted dad, grandpa and great-grandpa, Jim was always there for his family. He didn’t blow horns or beat drums – just humbly, quietly, carefully, teaching by example, he did what needed to be done. A faithful and active member of St. John’s United Church of Christ in Massillon, Jim served the church community in several lay leadership positions. He was a member of the PTA at the former York Elementary School; a scout master with BSA Troop 901 and a recipient of a Fifth Year Pipestone Award. As a member of the former Ten Star Theater, he lent his time, talent and expertise on stage and behind the scenes to several of their productions. He also held membership in the Independent Order of Foresters.
Predeceased by his parents; two sisters, three brothers and a granddaughter, Amanda Wingerter; Jim is survived by his wife, Mary Lou (McIntire) Harper and their children, Rick J. (Sandie) Harper, of Massillon, Randy J. (Anne) Harper, of Mineral City and Rhonda (Larry) Mills, of Mantua, Ohio. Also surviving are his grandchildren, Breanne (Bob) Walter, Matthew (Laurie) Harper, Andrew (Katie) Harper, Logan, Joseph and Angela Harper; Jennifer (Ken) Henthorn and Jackie (Wes) Stroud; great-grandchildren, Eden, Alex and Lauren; grandson-in-law, Bill Wingerter and many treasured relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be conducted Thursday afternoon, July 11, 2019, at 1:30 P.M. at Atkinson Feucht Hare Funeral Home in Massillon. Pastor Brian Flood will officiate. The family will receive condolences prior to the service, from 11:30 A.M.-1:30 P.M. in the funeral home. The family will likewise be honored to receive your flower tributes but encourage your consideration of memorial contributions in Jim’s name made in care of The Parkinson’s Foundation or Community Hospice.
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