Neil G. “Pete” Isham, 94, of Albion, peacefully passed away in the comfort and company of family at Maplewood Of Marshall on Monday, December 2, 2019 after a long and rewarding life.
Pete was born on February 9, 1925 at the family’s home on a farm near Dowling to Howard and Sarah (Hammond) Isham. He attended Hastings High School. Like many young men of his generation, he chose to enlist on June 16, 1943 in the military to serve his country, choosing the U.S. Navy. He served as part of a U.S. Naval detachment assigned to merchant marine ships to provide protection when those ships were attacked. He traveled both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean during the latter part of the war. He was honorably discharged on March 12, 1946.
Upon returning home he was uncertain of what he wanted to do and worked a variety of jobs. Neil attended Michigan State University’s Forestry Program. He earned his Certificate In Forestry and went to work for Smith Tree Service and Landscaping in Lansing. Through this work he connected with the Consumers Power Company of the era (now Consumers Energy) and went to work for them.
Pete worked as an Industrial Meterman, repairing, maintaining, replacing and installing meters on larger customers for Consumers. He worked with them for 36 years, retiring in 1987.
Pete was married on February 27, 1948 to Zeatha Dolena “Dolly” Isham. They moved to Albion in 1956. In 1956, they began construction of their family home in Albion, where they spent their lives together. Dolly was from Canada and she always enjoyed time there with her family, which may be what inspired Pete to dedicate a week a year for some personal solitude, canoeing and fishing with his sons or friends. Family reunions for Dolly’s side of the family were attended regularly in Sand Bay, Ontario and later at Sylvan Shores Estate near Cheboygan, Michigan. Neil’s love of the outdoors was fulfilled with these trips and canoeing and kayaking, fishing and camping. Pete and Dolly worked as campground hosts after their retirement. They did this at Pictured Rocks National Park in northern Michigan and Junction Creek USFS Campground near Durango, Colorado. Dolly preceded Pete in death on March 7, 2018. They celebrated 70 years of marriage together.
He was a member of the Patrick Leo Hanlon Post 55 of the American Legion. Pete was a long time member of the Caring Community Church.
He is survived by his sons, Michael (Don) Isham, Brian (Barbara) Isham, Gary (Terry) Isham, and Mark (Christine) Isham; his daughter-in-l;aw Joan Isham; and a “adopted by the family” son Gary (Debbie) Christner; 9 grandchildren, Jason Isham, Alyssa James, Anne Kuhns, Will Ferguson, Casey Ferguson, Allison Isham, Matthew Isham, Erika Isham, and Josh Isham; 2 great-grandchildren Kiera Isham and Zadie James; and many nieces and nephews.
Pete was preceded in death by his parents, a son Scott Isham, a granddaughter Laura Isham, and his brothers Merrill Isham, Garrett Isham and Caryl W. Isham.
A memorial service will be held at Caring Community Church in Albion in 2020 and will be announced when it is scheduled. Arrangements are by the Marshall Chapel of Kempf Family Funeral & Cremation Services. Memorial contributions in Pete’s memory are requested to Caring Community Church or to the Albion American Legion. Assistance with memorials is available at the Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services. Visit https://www.kempffuneralhome.com to leave a message for the family.
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