James Harold Booth

Booth—James Harold Booth, 78, on August 14, 2016, in Lansing, Mich. Jim was born on July 17, 1938, in Baldwin, Kans., to Helen Ehrhardt and Harvey Mellenbruch Booth. As a boy he began to love the prairies. He pursued his interest in agricultural economics at Kansas State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in feed technology (1960) and a master’s degree in agriculture and applied science (1962). In 1964 he married Kathy Gebhart, whom he had met when both were working in downtown Chicago, Ill. After six years they moved to Lansing, where he taught at Michigan State University (MSU) for several years before taking up a career selling residential real estate.

He was a longtime member of Red Cedar Meeting in Lansing, Mich., serving three terms as clerk in the 1970s. Over the decades he helped many Friends find homes in the Lansing community and the rest of mid-Michigan. Well known in the greater Lansing community for his welcoming spirit and readiness to serve, in 1980 he helped one of Lansing’s homeless shelters to find and buy its current property. From that point he began to volunteer weekly with Loaves and Fishes Ministries, working the overnight shift nearly every Wednesday for more than 35 years. The shelter’s guests loved him and enjoyed the homemade sausage he made and served to them. He also served on the advisory board for Letts Community Center, frequently delivered Meals on Wheels, and sang with the Earl Nelson Singers and MSU’s Choral Union. For more than 10 years he volunteered as a docent at the Michigan Historical Museum, where he relished opportunities to bring history to life for visitors of all ages.

He was a prolific reader, and as a history buff he was particularly interested in life on the Midwestern prairie and Michigan lore. He engaged others in discussion of current events and social trends, distributing a monthly email reviewing the books, concerts, movies, and theater productions he had seen. He also enjoyed travel and spending time with his grandchildren and other family.

Jim is survived by his wife of 52 years, Kathryn Gebhart Booth; his daughters, Charlotte Harvey (Theophilis) and Tiera Graham (Kal); six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a sister, Emily Thomas (Dave); and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

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