James De Vries ’64

Dr. James Edwin DeVries, 76, of Monroe, passed away on Thursday, September 13, 2018, with his family by his side.

James was born on November 26, 1941 in East Chicago, Indiana, the son of Tunis and Evelyn Viola (Swanson) DeVries.

He graduated from Hammond High School in 1960 in Hammond, Indiana. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History from Hope College in 1964 in Holland, Michigan.

Upon completing his education, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Korea from 1964-1966.

After his military service, he received his Master of Arts in History and Doctorate of History from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
Dr. DeVries was a Professor of History at Monroe County Community College from 1970-2010. He was a member of the MCCC board since 2012, the Monroe Public School Board from 1990-1994, and many others.
He assisted many students in helping fund their educations, find jobs, and gave away many, many books.

He is the author of several publications, including “Race and Kinship in a Midwestern Town: The Black Experience in Monroe, Michigan 1900-1915.”
James was voted one of the Marquis Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2005.

And in 2009 he was instrumental in helping to create the Monroe Labor History Museum.

In recent years, he was on the Monroe Center for Healthy Aging Board and the Monroe County Council CIO Social and Welfare Association Board. He also served on the Monroe County Historical Commission and the Arthur Lesow Community Center Board.

In the local community, he was a member of the Retired Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP), where he read to and mentored students at the Juvenile Center and Manor Elementary School. He was a sought-after presenter, panelist and expert in numerous areas, including, history, social science, race relations, current affairs, and many more.

He contributed to many college and local causes, including the United Way, NAACP and March for Babies.

James was a true nature lover and spent much of his life camping and canoeing with his family and friends. He was an avid book collector with a passion for education and civic involvement.

He was also a very active member of Redeemer Fellowship Church.
He was best known for his eccentric personality and Donald Duck impressions. He loved engaging in heated conversations about everything from politics to history to sociology.

He is survived by his children Adrienne Nelson of Monroe; Christopher (Anne Feledy) DeVries of Ann Arbor; Derk DeVries of Walnut Creek, California; Corinne (Kevin Meoak) DeVries of Los Angeles, California; and Cassandra DeVries of Monroe. He is also survived by his brother Ted DeVries of Evansville, Indiana, and eight grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his parents.

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