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James Andrew Willoughby

March 21, 1979 July 28, 2020
James Andrew Willoughby
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Obituary for James Andrew Willoughby

James Andrew Willoughby died July 28, 2020. He was 41 years old.


James was born on March 21, 1979 in West Branch Michigan to parents Julie and James Willoughby. He spent his early childhood growing up in St. Helen, then moved down to the Royal Oak area where he remained through his adult years.


Jim was a very outgoing person. His incredible bravery, combined with his insatiable taste for adventure made him unstoppable. His love for people also had no limits. Jim could put a smile on anyone’s face even on their worst of days. He was full of humor and laughs and always did his best to spread that same joy to others.


His love for animals was just as genuine as it was for people. It came so naturally for him. His love for horses was so instinctive, like how a duck takes to water. He would often say, "Heck, my best friends are a donkey named Tupac and a horse named Biggie" with a little chuckle to follow.


Jim was a man of many hobbies and interests. One of his favorite things to do was (as he called it) "tinker" around his man cave. He was tremendously talented and creative. Jim also liked to race RC cars in his free time and in his younger days, enjoyed the quality time he spent flying RC planes with his father. His motorcycle was his real love. He had so much passion for the ride and all that went with it. He was probably one of the only guys out there who could successfully pull off a wheelie on a full-size Harley Davidson ultra-glide with a passenger on the back. He wasn't always the safest, but he sure did know how to have a good time and make memories that will last forever!


He loved children and in more recent years, had talked about maybe even having his own someday. He and his nephew, Dominik, were very close. Jim often said how he loved Dom like he was his own. They did all kinds of things together and shared so many giggles and laughs. They had a number of activities that they enjoyed including heading over to the local Allegiance Gym where he and Dom took jujitsu classes. Dominik would talk for hours afterward about how he "gets to fight with the BIG guys!" They also enjoyed their nights of staying up late and "tinkering" or working out in the barn, especially when mom and dad weren't around. That meant no bed time for Dom and he absolutely adored the fact that (insert attitude) "Uncle Jim treats me like a grown up, Mom!" Uncle Jimmy was a super hero in Dominik's eyes.


James had a real passion for his work. One could say he was an entrepreneur from birth; owning several successful businesses. He began with Willoughby Home Improvements in 1999 all the way through to his most recent company, Men At Work. He was truly talented when it came to working with his hands! Although he was a framer by trade (an incredible one too), his salesmanship grew to be, not only his career, but something he thoroughly enjoyed. He always took every/anything on, head strong. In fact, his favorite quote, whether in the office or out in the field, was "Ya mess with the bull, ya get the horns." That always followed with a stiff poke in the ribs, belly, or sometimes directly in the middle of the forehead to whoever was standing next to him. Which of course, usually turned to fits of laughter and another memory made.


As rough and tough as Jim always was, he also had a gentle side to him that helped him connect on different levels with even more people. He was very close to his grandparents, the late Robert A. Winkle and Theresa J. Winkle. When he wasn't out running jobs, setting appointments with clients, or spur of the moment ideas and projects with his friends, he was tucked in at home with Grams and jiffy making sure she didn't overdo it on her "make sure it's hot Jimmy!" coffee and her infamous Lorna Doones or playing beauty shop, with herself acting as both client and hair dresser. James had also started attending church over the last few years and really grew his relationship with God. We are assured that he is watching over all of his loved ones from up above.


James is survived by his loving father, James B. Willoughy, his dear brother, Derik R. Gaudett, and his cherished nephew, Dominik A. Gaudett. James is preceded in death by his mother, Julie T. Willoughby.


Due to the current health restrictions, those who wish to pay their final respects to Jim may do so briefly at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home 1368 N. Crooks Road, Clawson, Michigan 48017 on Saturday, August 8, 2020 from 12-2pm.

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