Dr. James E. McEwan died peacefully at his home in Perry, MI surrounded by his five children on Sunday, January 16, 2021. James (Jim) was born on March 19, 1931 in Pontiac, MI to Marguerite Belle Jesse and James J. McEwan who worked as a professional engineer in the automotive and defense (during WWII) industries, all around the Midwest. As a result, James spent his early elementary school years in various locations; in Michigan in Birmingham and Pontiac, then he attended St. Josephs (Prep) School in Bardstown, Kentucky and the St. Louis (Prep) School in Batesville, Indiana. He returned to Michigan in 1947 and attended Shrine of the Little Flower High School in Royal Oak. James was an outstanding athlete on the Shrine basketball team, graduating in the Class of 1949. After high school, following in his engineer father’s footsteps, James attended General Motors Institute (GMI), MI studying industrial automotive process engineering. In 1951 he entered the University of Detroit as an undergraduate student and played for the U. of D. Basketball Team. In 1952 he was accepted into the U. of D. Dental School and was concurrently accepted into the U.S. Air Force ROTC program. Four years later in 1956 he graduated from Dental School and was commissioned as an active duty U.S. Air Force officer. Dr. McEwan served his country from 1956-1959 in the U.S. Air Force Dental Corps (Captain) stationed at the SAC Base in Salina Kansas. After leaving active service, Dr. McEwan served (1965-1990) in the U.S. Naval Reserve Dental Corps (Commander) (1965-1990), providing military personnel with dental care services at the Naval Reserve Center in Saginaw, MI.
He met the love of his life, Elizabeth Ann (Liz) Haupert while at Shrine High School. They were married on August 29, 1953. They had 5 children – Marylou Baudoux (Michael), James S. (Kathy), Laura Opalewski (John), Mark J. (Susan), and Ian D. (Danielle), and 18 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Anita McEwan (Clarkston, MI), many nieces and nephews. His wife Elizabeth predeceased him on October 6, 2008. James was also predeceased by his brother Joe and his sister Patricia (Morat).
During his professional career, Dr. McEwan was the consummate public health dentist. He served his community as the Dental Director of the Saginaw County Health Department for 27 years. He was an industry pioneer in establishing the inclusion of cavity preventive measures in municipal drinking water in the state of Michigan. During his routine, daily, professional clinic life he provided informed dental health care for the citizens of Saginaw County, specializing in service delivery to the underprivileged. In addition to his public health dentistry career, Dr. McEwan also maintained private dental practices in both Quincy and Saginaw, Michigan.
Outside his military and dental career, throughout his life, James enjoyed many other interests. He enjoyed watching youth and high school football and basketball, especially games played by his sons and grandsons. In his later years he regaled his family with stories about his own playing days on the football field and on the basketball court. Over the years, James and his wife enjoyed attending many youth and professional dance and musical performances by their children and grandchildren. He specifically enjoyed being “up north” at his deer hunting property, and target shooting at the range. He enjoyed fishing with his friends, children and grandchildren. He enjoyed family camping and then later in life, traveling the Western States with his wife. In retirement, James and his wife took up painting and often attended art classes together. They toured art museums and gardens in the Southern states. They were enthusiastic patrons of the Arts. Dr. McEwan was a generous donor and funded many scholarships for High School Art and Dance students in the Mid-Michigan area.
James was a great father to his five children. We all loved him very much. We are so happy that he is now rejoined with our mom, in the everlasting joy and light of the Lord. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial Mass will be held at a later date. Those wishing to commemorate him may make a donation to: The Wounded Warriors Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org/donate) or The Greater Lansing Ballet Company (GreaterLansingBallet.com). You may light a memorial candle or share a memory at misiukfuneralhome.com.
Misiuk Funeral Home
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James E. McEwan, DDS, please visit our floral store.
Wounded Warrior Project
PO BOX 758517, Topeka KS 66675-8517
Memorial contributions may be made by mail, telephone, or using their website.
Greater Lansing Ballet Company
15643 South US Highway 27, Lansing MI 48906