Cover photo for James Edward Whitcomb's Obituary
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1929 James Edward Whitcomb 2023

James Edward Whitcomb

March 21, 1929 — December 15, 2023

Portage, Michigan

James Edward Whitcomb, age 94 of Portage, went to Heaven on December 15, 2023, surrounded by his family. He was born on March 21, 1929, in McCrory, Arkansas, the son of Raymond and Irene (Cox) Whitcomb. When he was an infant, the family moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan. James was a 1948 graduate of Benton Harbor High School. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict, from 1950-1952, stationed in Colorado, Arizona and California. He received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in mathematics from Western Michigan University. For 35 years, he was a junior high math teacher for Kalamazoo Public Schools, retiring in 1986. On July 3, 1954, James married Marguerite “Peggy” LaDuke. They shared 69 wonderful years of marriage, making memories with their children and grandchildren. James and Peggy worked together designing and building a house on Gourdneck Lake, they called home for 50 years. For 15 years, they enjoyed spending their winters in Cape Coral, Florida. They were charter members of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Parish, where James was a member of the Knights of Columbus. James enjoyed all motorsports, including boats, cars, bikes and was an avid snowmobiler. He was generous with his time and his gift of fixing just about anything. Above all, James centered his life around his family. He truly enjoyed gathering, laughing, and spending time together. They loved visits to the Green Cabin in Northern Michigan and traveling together as a family.

His family includes his wife Marguerite “Peggy” Whitcomb; his children: Reginald (Carol) Whitcomb, Dorothy Dzoiba, Rodney (Susan) Whitcomb, Judith (Randy Viola) Whitcomb, and Richard (Diane) Whitcomb; John Burns, who was like a son; his grandchildren: Rodney, Melissa, Monica, Amanda, Ashleigh, Blake, Claire, and James “Jas”; his great-grandchildren: Ally, Cameron, Kyleigh, Chase, Charlee, Alexis, Taylor, Emarie, Ivy, Olivia, and one on the way; his brother, Ray Whitcomb; his sister, Louise Nicholas; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Donald and John.

Friends may visit with his family on Tuesday, December 19th, 2023, from 4:00 PM-7:00 PM at Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Burial & Cremation Services, 411 East Centre Avenue, Portage, MI, 49002. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, December 20th, 2023, at 11:00 AM at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 1150 West Centre Avenue, Portage, Michigan 49024 with Father Mark Vyverman and Father Jacob Sundararaju presiding. Interment will be held at South Portage Cemetery. Donations in memory of James may be made to St. Catherine’s of Siena Catholic Parish.

Please visit James' personalized web page to sign the online guest book or leave a message for the family at

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