James P. Chapekis
ESCANABA — James P. Chapekis, 87, of Escanaba, passed away Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, Wis. Born March 12, 1932, in Escanaba, Mich., to Anthony and Alice (Petropoulos) Chapekis, the youngest of seven siblings and a lifelong resident of the U.P. You may have seen him driving around Escanaba smoking his pipe in his iconic red 1989 Mazda. He graduated from Escanaba High School in 1950 and then from the University of Michigan with a Juris Doctorate in Law. He was admitted to the Michigan Bar in January 1958 and opened his own practice with his brother, Nick Chapekis. They created a legal practice focused on supporting the community. He served as president of the Delta County Bar Association, the Delta County Public Administrator, a Delta County Friend of the Court, and the assistant prosecuting attorney. He was the attorney for Wells Township and supported the growth of the paper mill. He was attorney to the Hannahville Indian Community and assisted in the early development of the housing community. He was the chairman to the Delta County Mental Health Board starting in the 1980s for over a decade. In early 1971, Jim met the love of his life, Eugenia. They were married July 15, 1971, in Athens, Greece. Jim and Jean established their home in the Escanaba community where they raised two wonderful children.
Guided by his Greek Orthodox faith, Jim fathered his children, loved his wife, and practiced law with steadfast kindness and generosity. Jim has been a pillar in the Escanaba legal community for more than 60 years, mentoring other lawyers and leading with the voice of reason. In 2019, he was the eldest licensed attorney in Delta County. He is regarded as a Gentleman of the Bar and has touched the lives of so many through his legal practice, philanthropic activities, and advancement of the legal profession. He was the founder of the Delta AA Drop-In Center, supporting others with his gentle manner. His life was full of golfing, playing bridge, and traveling throughout the world with his family. He was the life of the party often taking over as Master of Ceremonies! He enjoyed directing sing-alongs with his kids and grandkids and dancing the night away at family weddings and reunions. Jim will be greatly missed by his family, his legal peers, and the community of Escanaba.
He is survived by his wife, Eugenia; his daughter, Jennifer Pandelis (Fr. Theologos), and their children Gregory, Elpida, Dimitri, and Costa; his son, Steve (Robin); brother, Fred Chapekis; and sister, Georgia Vezane.
He was predeceased by his parents; sisters, Kay Kolovos and Mary Paige; and brothers, Nick Chapekis and Ted Chapekis.
Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at the Anderson Funeral Home, 2200 Ludington St., Escanaba, MI 49829. Funeral services celebrating the life of Jim will follow at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Anderson Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Fr. Ted Trifon officiating. Interment will follow in Lakeview Cemetery. There will then be reception at Pacino’s Food and Spirits within the Magnuson Grand Pioneer Inn and Suites, 2635 Ludington St, Escanaba, MI 49829; formerly known as the Pioneer Best Western. Those wishing to offer a memorial in Jim’s honor are kindly asked to consider the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church of Marquette.
The Anderson Funeral Homes are assisting the Chapekis family and online condolences can be sent at www.andersonfuneralhomes.net.