Beaverton Historical Society
Gladwin County Obituary/Death Notice
James Robertson Sr.

Gladwin loses former, long-time mayor

   GLADWIN — Last week Gladwin lost a friend and great leader. James Robertson, 87, died March 20 in Sarasota, Florida, leaving quite a legacy in his wake.

   Robertson was mayor of Gladwin for nearly 25 years, from 1967 to 1991. During his tenure, he oversaw many changes that will forever impact the city of Gladwin.

   “When you look at Gladwin today, you take for granted some of the programs and the changes that Mayor Robertson and his council enacted during the early 1970s,” said current Gladwin Mayor Tom Winarski. “Not too many cities our size or bigger have two senior high rise buildings, or 20 units of duplex living.”

   Winarski said it was Robertson’s willingness to tread where only big cities had been before that led to this progress, and one of his greatest qualities was the ability to pick good people to do the jobs he needed completed.

   The outgrowth of the Gladwin County Housing Commission is an organization that now directs the Gladwin City-County Transit and meals programs in two counties.

   A lot of people overlook the Gladwin Zettel Memorial Airport, but not many cities or counties have an airport that will accommodate small jets. It was through Robertson’s efforts that we have that facility today.

   Although the roots of the industrial park were in place before Robertson became mayor, the expansion of the park, the water tower and upgrading to a first class highway were all accomplished under Robertson’s watch. “We take for granted our city park, but again, with Robertson’s leadership, we accepted the park from the state of Michigan and grew it to what it is today,” said Winarski. “It was Jim’s softspoken West Virginia style that won people over to his point of view.”

   In a time when down state views were the rule of the day, Jim became president of the Michigan Municipal League and made sure Northern Michigan’s needs were addressed by that organization and our State and National representatives. Winarski said that Robertson’s legacy to Gladwin should be recognized by the community today as well as by future generations. “We will miss Jim and his quiet way, but he will not be forgotten,” Winarski said.

   A memorial service is set for 1 p.m. April 26 at Hall-Kokotovich Funeral Home in Gladwin.

Personal Information
Death Date
Burial/Final Location
Publication Information
Pub. Date
Pub. Page
Gladwin County Record, Gladwin, MI
P:A2 C:?
Transcription Information
Transcribed by
Source Media
September 2009
Bob Frei
Use your browser's BACK button to return or go to Obituaries Main Page
You may also want visit Beaverton Historical Society or Gladwin County Historical Society

This transcription is copyright 2009 by the transcriber. Private use is permitted,
but republication may be only with written permission of the transcriber.
Posted by Bob Frei with the assistance of Jeff Naugle