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James F. Droste

May 8, 1950 - September 17, 2020

U.S. Veteran

A private committal service with full military honors will take place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan. Memorial contributions in Jim’s memory may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Age 70, passed away at his home on September 17, 2020, with his family by his side. Jim was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey on May 8, 1950, the son of the late Frederick and Margaret (Price) Droste. He lived in Ridgewood, New Jersey for most of his childhood, graduating from Ridgewood High School in 1968. Jim went on to earn his B.A. in International Relations from Florida International University, as well has a B.A. in Spanish. He later attended naval post-graduate school where he earned a M.A. in International Relations. Jim married Mary Williamson on July 7, 1972. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1975 and retired in 1997, having obtained the rank of Captain. Jim also served his country on the civilian side and retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2015. He was a gentleman and gentle man. The most important part of Jim’s life was his family, his faith and serving his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his country. He was a devoted husband and father who always put his family before his own needs. He and Mary raised five wonderful children, who along with their grandchildren, were the joy of his life. Jim served as a missionary for his church in southwest Mexico from 1969-1971. He held many callings in church auxiliaries, bishoprics, quorum presidencies and most recently served as Stake Patriarch both in the Florida South and the Kalamazoo Stakes. These were his favorite callings as he loved serving those who came to him for direction in their lives. Jim had an admirable career in the U.S. Air Force where he served as an intelligence officer and often described his job as keeping service members safe through the information he was able to obtain. He and his team were instrumental in deposing Panamanian dictator, Manual Noriega, and securing the return of democracy to the country of Panama. In civilian service, Jim was responsible for maintaining the rights of military personnel and the continued humane treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Mary Droste; children, Christian (Katie), Karl, Erik, and Kurt (Lilie) Droste, and Alexa (Jacob) Drumm; grandchildren, Elora, Abigail, Calvin, Zachary, Dustin, Nathan, Collin, Ethan, Jimmy and Kevin; brother, Robert (Mandy) Droste; and sister, Anne (David) Schlesinger. In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his brother, Richard Droste. A private committal service with full military honors will take place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan. Memorial contributions in Jim’s memory may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.