James Richard Conard (born Ward James Belisle on November 12, 1945 in Mount St. Clemens, MI) died the morning of March 24, 2021 in Killeen, TX, where he resided. Jim was a transracial adoptee who learned about his Chippewa heritage later in life. He was a U.S. Army veteran, serving first in Vietnam. He then had a tour of duty in South Korea where he met his wife, Myong Ok, who preceded him in death. They had three daughters: Jane Marie (who passed away in 1971), Tammy Sue, and Kim Lou. His career in Army food service spanned 24 years until he retired, and then he spent nearly another 20 years with the U.S. Postal Service. He loved his family, and he taught his daughters how to fish at Lake Belton and how to clean those fish, how to cook meals big enough to serve a battalion, and how to never give up. Jim, affectionately known as Paw Paw, was a doting grandfather who loved spoiling his grandchildren Jacob, Phoebe, and Aila. Jim grew up in Wyoming, MI, and enjoyed playing baseball when he was a boy. He grew up in an era of cars with tailfins, and he became quite the mechanic. He liked to tell tales of driving across Michigan in a ’57 Chevy with his greaser hair and leather jacket. As a teenager, he spent time “up north” working with a lumber company and picking apples. Jim had a booming voice and looked gruff but had a soft side. He could chat up his grandkids about Daniel Tiger and Thomas the Tank Engine. He loved his dogs Lilly and Bubbles and would sneak them chicken nuggets while complaining about their sharp toenails. He checked in with his friends daily and was always ready to lend a helping hand. He would call in the same McDonald’s order every morning and drive to pick it up. He could also put an all-you-can-eat buffet out of business. He embraced his wife’s Korean culture, learning the language and devouring the food—practically an honorary Korean. He, like many during these times, figured out how to use Zoom so he could interact with his children and grandchildren until he could see them again. Jim was a member of the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians. He gave up Catholicism years ago and was member of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church and Kingdom Builders Christian Center, and he looked forward to the time he could safely return to in-person worship. Jim is now at peace and with his wife again. The family will hold a private funeral, and a Memorial Service will take place once it is safe to do so. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a favorite animal shelter or humane society.
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