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Obituary for John James Disch, Sr.

John James Disch, age 84, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and trusted friend to all who knew him.

John was born January 10, 1937 in Ionia, Michigan, the son of Henry and Hemine Disch. He attended Portland School and in 1954 while in the 11th grade he joined the US Navy. Returning home, he earned his GED diploma.

John and Marilyn V. Ingram were married in a garden wedding on August 17, 1958 at her parents’ home.

John worked in many areas – a gas station in Dowling, Michigan, Vandevort’s in Lansing, dispatcher management for Associated Truck Lines, Brauch Motor Express, and U.P.S. driver and management. After he had moved to Gadsden, Alabama, he returned to Michigan as a semi-truck driver for Bavarian Motor Transport, retiring first in 1999. Following his retirement, John was a school crossing guard in Hastings, a greeter at Meijer in Ionia for over seven years, and he worked at the MSU Experimental Station in Clarksville picking apples for three years.

John was chosen to transport the Pope Mobile for Pope John Paul II when he visited New York, Washington, and Baltimore.

John also passed intensive screening to qualify for the honor of working with the secret service in order to deliver President Clinton’s limousine.

John was an avid reader of many topics. He enjoyed flying a Tri-Pacer that he recovered in Edmore. John won a spot landing contest in Alma with his sons, John II and Doug flying with him. John also flew to Milton, FL visiting friends in the 1970’s.

John joined the Portland Masonic Lodge in 1964 and worked with the Hubbardston Lodge in later years. John served as Master, Secretary, and other offices. He also joined the Order of the Eastern Star of Portland #258 and he worked with the Mulliken #161. John was a faithful and served as Patron and Worthy Patron while attending the Portland United Methodist Church and he enjoyed singing in the choir.

John is survived by his wife, Marilyn; sons, John II (Pam) and Douglas; granddaughters, Nicole, Stephanie (friend, Pete); nephews, Ron (Anne) Disch, Bill (Susan) Disch, Dave (Shirley) Disch, Dan Disch, and Sandy and Jamie Byers; brothers-in-law, Bill (Liz) Ingram, Joe (Rosie) Ludwig; aunt, Aunt Bonnie Ingram; uncle, Dave Ferguson; and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Henry and Fred Disch; sisters, Barbara Schultz and Rose Killgore; and nephew, Warren Disch.

A Private Family Graveside service will be held at Portland Cemetery. Arrangements are entrusted to Lehman Funeral Homes. Online condolences may be made at


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