James was born to T.J. and Susie Isom on September 11, 1944 in Canton, Missouri. The family later moved to Benton Harbor, MI.
At a young age, James was later baptized under W.H. Hunter at Bethlehem Temple Church, Benton Harbor, MI. As loving parents, T.J. and Susie instilled the following values in James and their other children: to be followers of Jesus Christ and always keep strong work ethics, which laid as their foundation. Even though James was presented with many challenges throughout his life, he continued to persevere and be authentic. Later, in life he’d live by his favorite saying, “Take It Easy Man”.
James attended Benton Harbor High and was the first in his family to finish high school. He graduated in 1963. He attended Twin City College, now known as Lake Michigan College (LMC) where he studied Business and Tax Preparation. James’s value of education, afforded him the opportunity to be an important part of the Benton Harbor educational system. Mr. Isom served in the education system for over 40 years, making lifetime and life changing impacts in the lives of hundreds of children. James was a natural mentor, and a father figure to the fatherless by touching the life of those who others had given up on. Within those years he was an honorable Truancy Officer/Security Guard and took tickets at the Benton Harbor High School games. His commitment and dedication extended beyond his service in the school system and the students infinitely loved and respected him.
In his early years, at about 22 years of age, James enlisted in the Marine Corps and served from 1971-1973 in the Vietnam War. After serving for his country, he returned home and resumed work at Auto Specialties Mfg. where he was affectionately called “Scrap Iron”. In addition, he worked for Zenith and Robert Bosch Mfg., never missing a day of work and always on-time, where he retired after years of service.
James believed that one should be honored and shown appreciation while they are living. Thankfully, during his Golden years he accepted many awards, one being the Living Legend Award in 2015 in recognition of his presence within the City of Benton Harbor. He was the type of man that would give his last and open his home to many. He had a “big heart.” As he would say, “you can’t worry about what somebody else is doing but do what you can do”.
James was a dedicated member of Full Gospel Tabernacle City of New Beginnings, where he served as Deacon Isom. He was in the Choir and enjoyed singing “Jesus I’ll Never Forget What You’ve Done For Me.” He was a faithful servant and loved volunteering with the Food Drive.
James was an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears and his favorite Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He enjoyed fishing, bowling and had a sense of humor that could brighten the darkest day. While at home, you could guarantee that he would be watching the WWE Smack Down. Scrap had a great liking for sports and tried out for the Pittsburgh Pirates as a young man. His fondness for sports encouraged him to later coach “Little League” at Union Park where he helped lead the team to the Regional Championship in the mid 80’s, where they represented the State of Michigan.
On December 25, 1973, he married Sandra Weatherspoon. Out of their union of 47 years, James made sure his wife was taken care of and always put his family first. On March 10, 2021 at the blessed age of 76, James entered eternal rest at his home in Benton Harbor, MI, with family by his side. James leaves to cherish his memory, His loving wife, Mrs. Sandra Isom, His children: James (Kiesha) Isom Jr. of Grand Rapids, MI, Ina (Kenny) Washington of Dallas, TX., Daleon (Elisha) Isom of Benton Harbor, MI and Roshunda Isom of Indianapolis, IN; Grandchildren: Artinsia Shakur, Inika Isom, Cambra Isom, Danelle Whitaker, Je’Ron Whitaker, Daja Isom, Marius Isom, Daleon Isom, Jr., Michael Mumma, Jr. and Michai Mumma; Great-grandchildren: Manean Shakur, Kennidi Meeks, Kenise Meeks, Kenyelle Meeks, Aden Hill, Marius Isom, Jr. and a plethora of nieces and nephews; Siblings: Cleofus Isom, Lili Taylor, JoAnn Willie, Angelie Jackson and Rose Michele Jackson. James was preceded in death by his parents, T.J. and Susie Isom, his Sisters, Gertha Lee Mitchell, Suzanne Isom, Mary Ann Jones and Brothers, Wesley Truss and T.J. Isom, Jr.
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