Obituary of James Joseph Candela
March 27, 1943 - January 26, 2023
James “Jim” Candela. Age 79 of Grand Haven, formerly of Wyandotte.
Beloved husband of Sylvia for 58 years. Loving father of Molly (Jim) Culhane, Eric (Laura) Candela, Kenneth (Georgieanne) Candela, Nora (Max) McKee and Nicholas (Angela) Candela. Dearest grandpa of Caitlin, Ryan, Chandler, Olivia (Vaughn), Regina, Vincent, Maria and Caroline; and great grandpa of Quinton. Dear brother of John (Janet) Candela and Michael (Sang) Candela. Preceded in death by parents, Michael and Mary Candela; and brother, Edward Candela.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are greatly appreciated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Alzheimer’s Association or Wyandotte Public School Foundation.
Jim Candela was called-in to pitch in the big softball game in the sky on January 26, 2023. Born James Joseph Candela on March 27, 1943 to parents Michael and Mary Candela, Jim personified the down-to-earth, working class values of his family and the Wyandotte community where he was born, raised and lived most of his life. Memories of his early years were of countless hours spent playing baseball and football with many friends from his neighborhood, delivering papers with his brother Mike and gardening with his Dad.
Jim graduated from Wyandotte Roosevelt High School in 1960 and enrolled at Eastern Michigan University. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education in 1964 and 1966, respectively. He began his teaching career in the Riverview school district before joining the Southgate district in 1968. He became the principal of North Pointe Elementary School in 1977 and retired in 1999, but not before also serving stints as principal at Allen and Davidson schools and developing a TV curriculum, complete with the construction of a TV production studio. Jim’s career was marked by his ability and willingness to find innovative ways to reach his students as both a teacher and administrator and challenge them to fulfill their potential.
In the same way, Jim’s life was forever enriched when he and Sylvia, married in 1964 and began their 58-year journey together. Together, they raised five children Molly (Jim) Culhane, Eric (Laura) Candela, Ken (Georgieanne) Candela, Nora (Max) McKee and Nick (Angela) Candela. He was the proud grandpa to eight grandchildren: Caitlin, Ryan, Chandler, Olivia, Regina, Maria, Caroline and Vincent and one great-grandson, Quinton. Hard work and persistence were values Jim counseled in his children and grandchildren and evidenced in his own life through commitment to his career, keeping the yard neat-and-trim and through his involvement in Wyandotte’s civic affairs.
There is so much more that can be shared than there is space to share it. Jim had a great, and at times, self-deprecating, sense of humor. And, while he was fond of saying “I was okay for a little while” the fact of the matter is that he was a devoted and loving husband, an equally loving and consistent father, an accomplished professional, a passionate softball player and a good friend and colleague to many. He touched the lives of countless people in positive ways and left a compelling example of a life lived with conviction and integrity. He will forever be lovingly remembered and deeply missed.
Celebrant - Father Stephen Mutie, SAC
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