James “Jimmy” Edward McCann, 69, died Feb. 25, 2021, in Sarasota, Fla. He was a 40-year veteran of harness racing and later retired from the Crown Group auto company.
Born in Detroit, Mich., on May 15, 1951, he called Garden City his home for most of his life before retiring to Florida in early 2020.
He loved spending time with family, took great joy in children, and found his purpose in volunteering at his church, Redford Aldersgate United Methodist Church. At his new home in Florida, which he called his paradise, he enjoyed fishing regularly and knew everyone in the neighborhood.
Mr. McCann married his wife of 37 years, Patricia “Patty” Ann Sowash, on Jan. 14, 1978. The pair met while working in harness racing, raised a son, Matthew, and later when she became ill, he remained lovingly at her side until her passing in 2010.
He and Patty spent time in California for trainers like the late Hall of Famer Doug Ackerman, but most of his racing career was in Michigan based at Hazel Park and Northville Downs. He cared for horses in the stables of Hall of Fame immortal Lew Williams, Lee Sattelberg, Marie St. Charles, Dave Robertson and Don McIlmurray before training a stable of his own.
Mr. McCann is survived by his son, Matt, his significant other, Melissa Ksiazek, and special granddog, Brooks; sister, Marie Harrison; brothers, Billy and Gary (Linda); and a number of loving nieces and nephews, including Terri Harrison and her son, Dean, who both had a special bond with Mr. McCann. He also maintained a close relationship with his late wife’s family and leaves many loving members behind. He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward McCann and Nan McCormick; and sisters, Jeanette Jackson and Karen.
Mr. McCann is also survived by his partner, Kathryn Cramer-Schwartz, with whom he shared a beautiful home in Florida. The two found love in 2019 and joined their lives together. He helped care for her mother, Dorine Cramer, and became family to her son, David Mattson, his wife, Kelli, and their children, Avery, Brayden and Camryn.
His life was marked by his love for others and this continued to the end as he became a tissue donor upon his passing.
Memorial contributions may be made to Redford Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 10000 Beech Daly Rd., Redford, MI 48239.
Memorial services will be held in Michigan and Florida at a later date.