Cover photo for James "Joe" Kilmartin's Obituary
James "Joe" Kilmartin Profile Photo

James "Joe" Kilmartin

June 22, 1927 — June 26, 2024


James "Joe" Kilmartin

James Joseph “Joe” Kilmartin, 97, of Charlevoix Michigan passed away peacefully on Wednesday June 26th 2024 at Boulder Park Terrace. Joe was born in Caledonia, Michigan on June 22nd 1927 to Helen and Edmond Kilmartin. 

He was the middle of three brothers. Joe left home to join the Navy in May 1945. He spent a large portion of his Naval career aboard a minesweeper patrolling the Pacific Ocean. He fought in both World War II and the Korean War, earning the Victory Medal and Asiatic Pacific Ribbon. 

Following his time in the Navy Joe moved back to the Grand Rapids area and started a career driving truck. He was a proud member of the Teamsters Union and loved to travel to as many places as he could, making many lifelong friends along the way.

Joe met his love, Sandy in 1974. They were married January 7th, 1976 and in 1982 they decided to leave the city life and moved to Beaver Island where they resided for nearly 20 years. Joe was an avid outdoorsman who had many friends and connections to the Island where they were quick to settle in. He became a member of the Beaver Island Wildlife Club and passed along his love and knowledge of the woods to his grandkids and anyone who wanted to tag along. He met lots of new faces delivering fuel with Gillespie Oil & Transit before becoming a deckhand with the Beaver Island Boat Company. In 2001 they moved back to the “big city” of Charlevoix. Not one to slow down, Joe retired and work for a number of years at Island Airways, becoming a memorable face to all those heading to and from Beaver Island. He was especially close to his Island Airways family and stopped by “just to check in” as often as he could.  

He had a love for life, his family, and his friends that became family that is unmatched by most.  

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, brother Bernard Kilmartin, wife Sandra Kilmartin, daughter Lynn Mcintee-Paulsen, and great granddaughter Harper Marie Simko. 

He is survived by a brother, Edmond Kilmartin, children James (Deborah) Kilmartin, Mitch (Dawn) Kilmartin, Bernie (Sandy) Kilmartin, Tarry (Joe) McDonough, Kelly Collins, Luke (Sandy) Oliver, Darlene Risner, 17 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren.  

Joe will be laid to rest Saturday, July 6th at Holy Cross Cemetery on Beaver Island, MI.

Arrangements are in the care of the Charlevoix Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes. Please sign his online guestbook at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James "Joe" Kilmartin, please visit our flower store.


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