Our nation lost a patriot and hero on Thursday, July 1, 2021, when James “Jim” Pearson Michael passed away at his home. He was 93.
Jim was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, on February 11, 1928, to Elvira Pearson Michael and Chester Ford Michael. At 12, Jim showed the strong work ethic and selflessness that would follow him through life when he started throwing newspapers twice a day to help his family with expenses. At 16, Jim began a prestigious military career when he joined the Texas State Guard, eventually rising to the rank of sergeant, serving as an infantry unit leader and machine gun unit leader. He qualified as expert with the M-1 rifle, Cal 45 pistol, and carbine. As a result of his outstanding skill with firearms, Jim was appointed as a rifle marksmanship instructor. He left the state guard at 18 to enlist in the Marine Corps. Jim served in China and Guam as a corporal machine gun crewman. Upon discharge, he still sought to serve his country, so he joined the Marine Corps Reserve, serving as a company first sergeant. He was called to active duty at the beginning of the Korean Conflict. After serving a year in Korea, he was assigned to Camp Matthews in California as a weapons instructor. Among his many accomplishments, Jim was awarded the China Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
Jim returned to civilian life to complete his electrical engineering degree at the University of Texas at Austin. The hard work and late nights of studying were offset by relaxing weekends at the family farm near Round Rock. There, he enjoyed joking, roughhousing, and playing football and baseball with his brothers, cousins, and friends. Never one to turn down a home-cooked meal, Jim also relished the delicious family meals prepared by his Swedish mother.
After graduation, he began a new phase of his life as an engineer in the transmission division of Texas Power & Light Company. Smart, ambitious, and talented, he worked in the generation division for twenty-three years, becoming superintendent of one-unit and two-unit power plants. In 1976, Jim was transferred to the Texas Utilities Dallas Corporate Office where he held a succession of positions before retiring in 1987.
Jim was blessed to marry the love of his life, Majella Stepp, a spunky, intelligent brunette with an entrepreneurial spirit who had risen from poverty, attended TCU, built a home for her parents, and founded and operated a daycare business. He and Majella raised four beautiful daughters, Sharon Majella, Linda Kathryn, Susan Kristina, and Diana Elaine. The couple instilled in their children a love for the acquisition of knowledge, a strong sense of personal ethics, respect for others, tolerance for those who were different, a sense of humor, and a deep pride in and sense of honor for their country.
After retiring from TXU, Jim and Majella worked with Cedar Valley Community College in their student exchange program, hosting a number of German exchange students. During these times, Jim and Majella made many life-long friends. Later, Jim and Majella moved to Salado, where they enjoyed the strong sense of community and neighborly comradery.
Jim was preceded in death by his beloved wife Majella and his brothers, Danny, Terry, and Jack. He is survived by his daughters Sharon Michael of Salado, Kathy Michael of Salado, Kristy Michael Burks of Midlothian, and Diana Michael of Charleston, South Carolina; grandchildren Andrea, Sarah, Travis, Cody, Marisa, John Paul, Kaylee, and Olivia; and great-grandchild Steel.
Services for Jim Michael will be held Tuesday, July 20. Visitation will be from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and the funeral service will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at Broecker Funeral Home in Salado. Following the service, interment will take place at Salado Cemetery. A repast will be held at the Michael family home immediately after the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Heart Association.