OBITUARY: James Russell Kovalak of Willis, Mich.      

James Russell Kovalak

James Russell Kovalak

James Russell Kovalak, 73, passed away peacefully March 2, 2017 at his home. He was born on December 27, 1943 in Monroe, MI to George James Kovalak and Mary Alice Adams.
 He met his sweetheart Carol Hustyi in his teen years, taking a job at the Hustyi Greenhouse. They were married on June 19, 1965 at St. John’s Church, Ypsilanti and would have been celebrating 52 years of marriage this year. Together they have four children, nine grandchildren, one great grandchild and several nieces and nephews.
 In 1967, together they founded Jim Kovalak Excavating, Inc. with only a dump truck and a backhoe, which began their nearly 50 year journey working together in business. Jim’s passion was his business and he worked every day alongside his sons Jim Jr. “Booie” and Steven to transform their small family business into his lifelong dream. In the early 1980s they bought and restored an old general store turning it into the popular family restaurant The Pickle Barrel currently known as Bone Heads. He was a proud member of the Water Wonderland Thunderbird Club, where he enjoyed showing off his own collection of classic cars and admiring others. He was also a proud member of the NRA, the Michigan Septic Tank Association, and St. Joseph Catholic Church in Whittaker. He loved everyone deeply and treated everyone he knew as family.
 Jim was preceded in death by his parents, George and Mary (Adams) Kovalak and a brother Thomas James Kovalak.  
 He is survived by his wife, Carol (Hustyi) Kovalak, his children: Sharon (Greg) Schultz, Teresa Kovalak, Jim (Meghan) Kovalak, and Steven (Sarah) Kovalak, his grandchildren: Kayla, Julia, Sarah (Joe) Haas, Monet, Erik, Jackson, Madelynn, Isabelle, and James his great granddaughter Olivia, and his siblings Nancy Kovalak and Jean (Doug) Kovalak.
 Visitation was held at Ochalek-Stark Funeral Home in Milan.Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday, March 6th, at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Whittaker Rd.
 Burial followed at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church. www.ochalekstark.com

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