Jim Breckenfeld Class of 1960
HARBOR SPRINGS - James Irving Breckenfeld class of 1960, age 81, passed away November 16, 2023 in Harbor Springs, Michigan. He passed away peacefully with his family by his side and his favorite movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” playing in the background. A wonderful life it was! Born March 6, 1942 in Edina, Missouri, Jim was proud of his rural roots. Barefoot and in overalls, he loved exploring nature with his brothers, Bob and Bill. Jim carried this love of the outdoors with him throughout his life.
Some of his many passions were running, sailing, windsurﬁng, downhill skiing, ﬂy ﬁshing and bird hunting. The Breckenfeld family moved to Okemos, Michigan in 1948. Jim would live in Okemos until he graduated from Michigan State University. Being a Michigan State Spartan was something Jim took very seriously, and was extremely proud of, even while “surviving” being a wolverine for four years of medical school at the University of Michigan. Jim proudly served in the National Guard and shared many stories about KP duty and peeling potatoes.
Those that knew Jim could attest to his quick wit that occasionally got him into trouble! It was his wit and cleverness that aided him in his journey to become a dedicated radiologist. Over the span of his medical career he practiced at St. Joe’s Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan, and Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan. Jim and his wife Ginny settled in Beverly Hills, Michigan and raised their three children there. Jim loved attending his children’s sporting events and those of his beloved MSU Spartans.
He loved going back to Okemos and had season football and basketball tickets. While the kids were still young, Jim and Ginny purchased a condo in Harbor Springs. Jim loved spending time at the beach, sailing and wind- surﬁng. He chose to spend his winters on the slopes of Boyne Highlands or at various ski hills out west. He passed these passions onto his children and grandchildren, many of whom love sailing and skiing.
Jim was also an avid runner. He enjoyed competing in local races and ran the Detroit Free Press Marathon numerous times. Over the years he amassed a large collection of race t-shirts that he was quite fond of. Jim was a proliﬁc reader and lover of music. His personal collection of literature and music rivals many small town libraries.
Jim read at least a book a week and loved to talk about them and also recommended his favorite reads to others. Anyone who knew Jim may have had a hard time knowing where he started and his dog ended. He had many dogs over the years and loved them all. He spent many happy days with them bird hunting or shooting sporting clays at the Emmet County Sports Men’s Club. He especially enjoyed helping with the “Michigan Hunter Safety Education Program”.
Over the years he had many positions on various boards at the Harbor Cove Condominium Association. He loved a good obituary and read them daily. Hopefully this one will do him proud. Jim lived a truly wonderful life and will be missed by all who knew him. He is survived by his wife Ginny (Doll) Breckenfeld; his three children: Sarah (Mark) LaBlance of Ft.
Myers, Florida, Matt (Stephanie) Breckenfeld of Harbor Springs, and Beth (Jon) Hartzell of Beverly Hills; his brother, Bill Breckenfeld of Okemos; his eight grandchildren; and his beloved Gordon Setter, Lady. Jim is preceded in death by his parents Helen and Irving Breckenfeld; and his brother Robert Breckenfeld. Jim will be buried in Okemos with his family at a private service. A celebration of life is planned for the summer in Harbor Springs. In lieu of ﬂowers memorial contributions can be made to: The Harbor Springs Festival of Book “Books for Schools Fund” hsfotb.org, The American Brain Foundation: https://give.americanbrainfoundation.org/give/346367/#!/ donation/checkout, or Emmet County Sports Men’s Club: PO Box 143, Petoskey, MI 49770.
Arrangements are in the care of Stone Funeral Home, Inc. of Petoskey. James Breckenfeld.