Obituary of James Edward Westfall
James Edward Westfall (“Jim”), 92, of North Port, Florida, formerly of Troy, Michigan died peacefully in his sleep on April 20, 2023. Born on September 22, 1930 in Huntington, Indiana, Jim was the only child of Georganna (Lowman) Davis and William R. Westfall. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Donalea (Williams) Westfall. He is survived by his daughters Lynn Gross (Scott) and Jill Westfall, and grandchildren Stacey Drost (Michael), Aya Halawi and Walter J. Gross.
Jim was a 1948 graduate of Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was an active member of the IPCARS social club in high school and enjoyed building model planes as a boy. Jim attended Butler University as a pharmacology student after high school until his enlistment in the United States Navy in January of 1951 during the Korean war. During his naval service, Jim served as the ship’s photographer on the USS Tarawa aircraft carrier, on which he crossed the equator and became a “Trusty Shellback.” Jim earned six miliary medals during his service and took hundreds of pictures as he traveled the world. He was honorably discharged as a Photographer’s Mate Second Class in November 1954.
After his discharge from the Navy, Jim attended Purdue University on the GI Bill. While attending Purdue, Jim met Donna, his dream girl, where she coordinated events at the student union. He graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. As an older student, Jim resided at Thomas Duncan Hall where he also worked. Duncan Hall provided Jim with meals and a bed, which significantly impacted his ability to complete his studies. Jim remained a patron and donor to Duncan Hall throughout his life.
After graduation, Jim and Donna married and moved to the Detroit area. Jim worked as a chemist for the Food and Drug Administration in Detroit for 40 years where he retired as a Laboratory Supervisor in 1996. Jim made invaluable contributions to the health and safety of food products and participated in the development of important food tests and regulations. Jim and Donna raised their two daughters in Troy, Michigan, and later retired to Florida where they built their dream home and lived out the rest of their lives. Jim and Donna were happily married for 55 years until her death in 2017.
Jim was a very intelligent and creative man, who enjoyed doing sudoku puzzles and keeping up with the latest technological advances, even into his 90’s. He also liked to have fun watching movies and brewing is own “Hong Kong Jim” label of beer. Jim was an exceptionally kind and loving person and was never heard raising his voice or saying an unkind word. He cherished his family, especially time spent with his treasured grandchildren.
A private memorial will be held on a date to be determined. Donations may be made in Jim’s memory to Thomas Duncan Hall: www.duncanhall.org; 619 Ferry St., Lafayette IN 47901To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Westfall, please visit Tribute Store