School 17

James (Jim) Alden Westgate

October 22, 1943 ~ March 28, 2020 (age 76)

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Mr. James Alden Westgate (Jim), age 76 of Fremont, MI passed away on Saturday, March 28th at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI.  Jim was born the third of three children to parents Lloyd and Marian Westgate on October 22nd, 1943.  Growing up in Muskegon, Jim met his wife Bette Koski while in high school.  Jim also joined the ROTC while in high school and developed a life-long interest for all things mechanical and for wood working.  He married Bette on July 3rd, 1965 and together built a wonderful life during their 55 years of marriage. After earning a bachelor’s  degree from Western Michigan University, Jim served in the Navy and was a veteran of the Vietnam war. 

The Westgate family lived in North Muskegon until they moved to Fremont, MI to the farm that has remained in the family for more than 100 years.  Jim shared his knowledge and love of woodworking as a woodshop teacher at Reeths-Puffer High School where he never missed a day of work. 

A member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fremont, the traits of his Christian faith that made him so special memorialize Jim’s life.  His love, humility, kindness, patience, grace and quiet sense of humor are ever-present in the memories shared by family and friends.  He extended kindness and a smile to all and never spoke a negative word about anyone. 

Jim was proud to be from Michigan, but also had a sense of adventure and liked to travel.  He and Bette spent time with their young children travelling throughout the United States during summer vacations.  In retirement, he and Bette spent many winters in Key West, FL where they were thrilled to entertain their children and grandchildren.  Recent winter adventures took them to Phoenix, AZ to share in the joy of grandson, Alden Werner.

Happiness often meant sharing a home-cooked meal with children and grandchildren along with a glass of home-made wine.  At home in his workshop, Jim crafted furniture with the quality “to last a hundred years” and he and Bette presented those pieces as treasured gifts to their family.

Preceded in death by his brother Charles Westgate of Jacksonville, FL, Jim is survived by his wife Bette, sister Nancy Springstead and children Amy Westgate – Watts and husband Noel of Zeeland, MI, James B. Westgate (Ben) and wife Linda of Fremont, Sara Werner and husband Zach of Phoenix, AZ and their grandchildren, Hillary Akers and husband Chris of Bristol, VA, Mackenzie Tromble of Indianapolis, IN, Kennedy Visscher and husband Kevin Chase of Carmel, IN  Troy Visscher of Noblesville, IN, Cam Westgate and Mason Westgate of Fremont, Alden Werner of Phoenix, AZ and great granddaughter, Aniston Akers of Bristol, VA.

There will be no visitation or service.  A family celebration will be scheduled in future weeks.  You may sign the online guest book at  We also encourage you to post your memories, stories and thoughts on Jim’s Facebook page at  If you own a piece of furniture made by Jim, please consider posting a photo and story.




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There will be no visitation or service

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