James Penrose Markham

HOUGHTON CANAL – James Penrose Markham, 74, passed away at his home early Thursday morning with his children by his side.

Jim was born in Calumet on July 21, 1938. He was the only son of John and Blanche (Volberg) Markham of Houghton. He spent his summers on his beloved Isle Royale where his father was stationed with the National Park Service.

He worked two summers as a suveyor for a geological service on Isle Royale, later as a part-time commercial fisherman in the Keweenaw and Isle Royale. He loved his boats, from his little wooden rowboats to his 38-foot Bayliner. Whenever he could, he would head to the island taking many friends and family members over the years. He passed this love of Isle Royale on to all his children.

Jim worked for Hornick’s Station, Kinn Bottled Gas and Michigan Gas and Electric (Semco) until his retirement at age 60. He was also a business owner, starting with Canal Boat Sales in the 1960s, which later became Markham’s Marina.

Jim served as president of the Stanton School Board during the construction of E.B. Holman School. He also served for many years on several boards of the Copper Country Junior Hockey Association, Michigan Amateur Hockey Association and U.P. Hockey Association and aided in development of programs, coaching and volunteering countless hours of service to the area hockey rinks. He was a former president of the Isle Royale Boaters Association, and, most recently, served on the Houghton County Road Commission Board.

Jim married Margaret Anderson on Dec. 12, 1959, and they made their home on the Houghton Canal.

Preceding him in death were his parents; his son-in-law, Glenn Peterson; brothers and sisters-in-law, Melvin and Eleanor Anderson, Reino Anderson and Arthur Maki.

Surviving are his wife, at PortagePointe; five daughters and eight sons: Patty Peterson of Hancock, Jane and Paul Hietala of Houghton Canal, Beth and Russell Ryynanen of Chassell, Joan and Dale Kero of Hancock and Crystal and Jim Pietila of Howell; Timothey and Diane of Greer, S.C., Todd and Lisa of Houghton Canal and Indian River, Jeffrey and Monica of Chassell, Corey and Mandy of Houghton, Jamey and Liddy of Houghton Canal, Nicholas and Julie of Ishpeming, Ryan and Karmen of Atlantic Mine and Rodney and Joanne of Houghton Canal.

He was dearly loved and will be missed by 73 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; his half-sister, Grace Marie Schroff; and his life-long buddy, Ray Niemi; also survived by sisters and brothers-in-law, Millie Maki, Shirley Anderson, Pete and Helen Kinnunen, Milton and Louise Erva and Marvin and Margaret Anderson; numerous nieces and nephews who loved and respected him.

Friends may call on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, from 4 to 7 p.m. and Sunday for one hour prior to the service which will be held at 2 p.m. at the First Apostolic Lutheran Church on Sharon Avenue in Houghton. There will be a celebration of Jim’s life this summer to be announced.

The family would like to thank Dr. Jeff Huotari for all his sincere care of Jim.

To view Jim’s obituary or to send condolences to the family, please visit

The Memorial Chapel Funeral Home in Hancock has been assisting the family with arrangements.