James Leslie Bixler

James Leslie Bixler, 91, of Ann Arbor, Mich., died Nov. 9, 2021. He was born April 8, 1930, to Allen and Ellen Bixler in Orrville, Ohio.

James Bixler

He graduated from Goshen College in 1952 with a degree in music. He then went as a conscientious objector to Germany in the Pax program from 1952 to 1954 to rebuild homes and farms of German Mennonite refugees that were destroyed in World War II.

He married June Gerber, whom he knew from their home community in Kidron, on Sept. 9, 1956. They moved to Ann Arbor in 1960 for him to study French horn at the University of Michigan.

He was offered a job by the university to record lessons by foreign language professors, and he remained at the university in the Modern Language Building for 34 years with a recording studio and assisting the university to evolve with ever-changing audio and video needs. He was an excellent technician with a skilled ear and eye.

He sang in many choirs, as well as a quartet with his twin brother John and cousins Don and Mahlon, for over 50 years. He collected classical music records and spent hours enjoying his favorite music. He was an avid bird and butterfly lover, planting a garden that would attract all pollinators. He was a train enthusiast and member of the Ann Arbor Model Railroad Club. Photography was another passion, and he developed photographs in the basement. After retirement he found joy in cooking. He and June enjoyed traveling to Europe. He loved sports and was a little league coach for several years in Ann Arbor. He was a dedicated Tigers, Lions and Wolverines fan. 

He was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor since 1983, singing in the choir and traveling to Haiti as part of mission trips. 

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, June Bixler; daughters Caroline Bixler and Ingrid (Barry) Stoltzfus; twin brother John of Iowa City, Iowa; and three grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his son Grant Bixler; and a brother, Robert Bixler.

Memorial donations may be sent to First Presbyterian Church Local Missions.


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