James M. Deal, age 49, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Texas on July 21, 2021. James is survived by his children, Caroline, Jackson, and Olivia; his parents, James R. "Bob" and Gloria (Serbu) Deal of Plainwell, MI; and sister, Terri (Dustin) Johnson and their children, Aiden and Ansley of Atlanta, GA. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, James W. & Mary E. Deal and Eli & Anna Serbu.
James was born in Grosse Pointe, MI and moved to the Gull Lake area with his family when he was 4 years old. He loved sports from a young age, playing soccer and basketball competitively throughout his school years. He graduated from Gull Lake High School in Richland, MI, where he was in the National Honors Society, played varsity basketball and soccer, and was honored to be a Soccer State Champion with his team in 1988. In basketball, as a senior, he was named his team's Most Valuable Player, selected as a first team member of the Wolverine Conference All Stars and set the Gull Lake season and game records for three-point field goals. He went on to attend Hillsdale College with an academic and athletic scholarship. James played college basketball for 2 years and joined Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity his sophomore year. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree (Finance and Computer Science). He went on to receive his Master of Business at Western Michigan Haworth Business School and completed a postgraduate study in Information Technology at the University of Michigan.
James was a true entrepreneur who relentlessly pursued success. He was a hard-working visionary and computer scientist full of ideas and potential. He loved to laugh, joke around, and make light of difficult situations. His competitive nature and athletic passion continued as a father playing games and sports with his three children. Although circumstances led to the separation from his wife, his devotion to his kids never faltered. He strived to model a strong faith in God, encouraged them to develop their own faith, and taught them the importance of practical life skills, independence, and patience. Most importantly though, he loved his kids deeply and always put them first. He will be missed beyond measure.
The family will receive friends 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Friday, August 13th at the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Richland Chapel 9170 East D. Ave., Richland, MI 49083 where services to celebrate his life will begin at 12:00 noon. The service will be livestreamed and may be viewed at https://vimeo.com/584008514. Inurnment will follow at Prairie Home Cemetery, Richland. Expressions of sympathy may be made in whichever way(s) you wish. Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be sent to the James Deal Children college fund. Personal messages for the family may be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.