Judge James P. Churchill of Harbor Springs, MI (formerly of Imlay City, Vassar, Grosse Pointe and Bay City) died on June 29, 2020. He was born on April 10, 1924 to Howard H. Churchill and Faye Erma (Shurte) Churchill of Imlay City, MI.
James Churchill graduated from Imlay City High School in 1941. He served in a field artillery battery of the 103rd Infantry Division of the United States Army during World War II, fighting in France, Germany, and Austria. He received degrees from the University of Michigan business school in 1947 and the University of Michigan law school in 1950.
James married Ann Muir of Imlay City in August of 1950. He practiced law in Vassar, Michigan until 1965 when he was elected as Circuit Judge of the 40th Judicial District of Michigan consisting of Lapeer and Tuscola counties. During the next nine years he held court in Caro and Lapeer and in eight other Michigan courts including the Michigan Court of Appeals. In 1974, Judge Churchill was nominated as United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan by President Gerald Ford to fill a vacancy created by the death of Federal Judge Stephen J. Roth of Flint, whom Judge Churchill admired. His nomination was confirmed by the U.S Senate. Judge Churchill was sworn in as a Federal Judge on December 29, 1974. Thereafter, he presided at trials in federal courts in Detroit, Flint, Bay City, and on a few occasions in Tennessee. In 1981 and 1982, while holding court in Detroit, he taught a night class
concerning Federal Court Jurisdiction as an adjunct professor at the Detroit College of Law. On December 30, 1989 he retired from active service as a federal judge. In 1991, Saginaw Valley State University awarded Judge Churchill an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree. During his professional career, Judge Churchill enjoyed association with many staff members, law clerks, fellow judges and attorneys.
He and Ann enjoyed their many friends in Imlay City, Vassar, Grosse Pointe, Bay City, Harbor Springs, and elsewhere. Judge Churchill enjoyed golf, sailing, reading, and following the Detroit Tigers and especially the Michigan Wolverines. He was always in awe of natural history, geology, and astronomy and loved nature and taught others who would try to keep up with him on the wonder of it all. He so enjoyed and loved his family but especially his wife of nearly 70 years, Ann, and they all deeply loved and admired him. Even with his accomplishments, wisdom, and brilliance, they were always his greatest source of happiness.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brothers, Stuart Winston Churchill and Robert Howard Churchill.
Judge Churchill is survived by his wife of 69 years, Ann Churchill; his three children, Nancy Ann Nyquist (Michael Blohm) of Menominee, MI, David James (Kathy) Churchill of Lapeer, MI and Sally Jo Churchill (Edward Kulka) of Ann Arbor, MI; grandchildren, David (Melanie) Nyquist of Green Bay, WI, Sara (Alan) Aichner of Menominee, MI, Joseph Churchill (Ajay Mani) of Petoskey, MI, Katherine Churchill of Antony, France, Emmet Kulka of San Francisco, CA and Helen Kulka of Montreal, Quebec; three great-grandchildren, Ryan (Meg) Nyquist of Port Washington, WI, Holly Nyquist of Green Bay, WI and Gabriel Shaw of Menominee, MI; and many nieces and nephews.
Interment will occur at the Readmond Township Cemetery on a date to be determined.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Readmond, Friendship, Cross Village Fire Department, 6043 Wormwood Lane, Harbor Springs, MI 49740 or the University of Michigan Law School Fund, 4000 Jeffries Hall, 701 State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.