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James Lionel Kowall, age 94, of Bellaire, passed away on Monday, August 17, 2020.


He was born on June 19, 1926, in Grand Rapids, to the late John & Hazel (Haley) Kowalczyk.  He was preceded in death by a sister, Loraine and two brothers, John & Bernard.  Jim is survived by his wife, Elva (Schultz) of 66 years and a sister, Patricia.


Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  He was assigned duty at Pearl Harbor where he had full control of defensive materials for all the ships in the Central Pacific.   This included all the guns, armament and parts.  Damaged ships returning to Pearl, all shot up, were supplied new guns and everything they needed to return to service, sometimes repaired in one week.


Jim had to deal with all commanders of the ships when they came in for supplies.  He remembered meeting JFK (PT109).


After the war, Jim met and married Elva Schultz.  They were married for 66 years.  Jim and Elva lived in Cascade for many years and moved to Bellaire after retirement.


Jim and Elva owned Great Northern Packaging where Jim was the CEO.  They both enjoyed flying in their aircraft.


In the early 1970’s, Jim formed The Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC).  It is a huge organization today, stretching coast to coast with members.  He was a past president of the organization and at a fall meeting, in San Francisco in 2003, he was given a plaque recognizing him for his hard work and inducting him into their hall of fame.  The meeting was attended by 700 people.


A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Friday, August 21, 2020, at Holy Family Catholic Church, 9669 Kraft Avenue SE, Caledonia.  Burial will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery.


To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Jim’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:


Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 616-452-3006, exclusive providers of Veterans Funeral Care.


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2 Condolences

  1. Sister Mary Ann Barrett on August 19, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    James is remembered as an innovator who was always concerned about about others, especially his customers. Aquinas College in Grand Rapids was on the receiving end of his creative genius.
    Jim and Elva had a most unique partnership and friendship.
    We celebrate Jim’s many years of service to our country, his many years living among us and his Risen Life in Christ.
    We hold Elva and all who loved Jim in prayerful support.
    Sister Mary Ann Barrett, OP
    Aquinas College

  2. Steven Young on August 20, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Jim was one of the Founders and first President of the Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC). We remember him fondly and thank him and Elva for their generous and selfless service to the independents sector of the corrugated packaging industry

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