He was born Aug. 20, 1948, in Prestonsburg, Ky., to Johnie Prater and Helen (Addis) Prater. He attended public school in Prestonsburg until moving to Michigan with his parents in 1966. In 1974, he moved his family to Norwalk.
James had worked at the former Sheller-Globe/Mayflower Corp. in Norwalk, Venture Packaging in Monroeville, Ferrell-Cheek Steel Co. in Sandusky, Union Steel in Albion, Mich., and TransAm trucking of Olathe, Kan., as well as running Auto-Wrecking 601 and Hilltop Gulf in Norwalk for many years.
He had passed his retirement caring for his mother, working on his cars, learning the internet, attending auctions and socializing with his friends.
James is survived by his mother, Helen Prater of Norwalk; son, James Jr. (Xu Tao) of Cleveland; daughters, Annette (Oron) Wilcox, Mary (James) Jenkins, and foster daughter Dorothy (Champagne) Austin all of Norwalk; as well as five grandchildren, Johnnie Wilcox, Cassidy (Brad) Travis, Caine Jenkins, Brittany Wilcox, and Oron (Lauren) Wilcox; and numerous great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his father, Johnie Sr.; his brother, Johnnie Jr.; and his baby sister, Sallie Lee.
A graveside service will be 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, at Woodlawn Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to the Evans Funeral Home, 314 E. Main St., Norwalk.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association.