Ivan William Redfield, Jr.
Ivan William Redfield, Jr. passed away peacefully from pneumonia on November 13, 2020 after a battle with cancer. Known as JR, he was born in Howell in March 1951 to Ivan “Skeet” and Bonnie Felton Redfield. He is survived by the love of his life Patricia Ries Redfield and sisters dear to him, Janice Osan of Tennessee and Cherie (Bill) Mollison of Fowlerville. He leaves behind his step-daughter Kimberly Wakeman and step-son Robin (Clarinda) Ries and grandchildren Adelaide and Ian Wakeman, Janelle and Brittany Ries all of California, and Gary Bachman of Fowlerville. JR also treasured his nephews Lorne Osan and Brian Osan and sons all of Tennessee, as well as many cousins and extended family members.
JR graduated from Fowlerville High School Class of 1969 and was a veteran of the US Army Engineer Corps. After operating a cattle hauling business for several years, he went to work for Cars and Concepts in Brighton Michigan. They were starting an auto racing team and JR was hired to drive the car transporter, buy parts and help manage the pits on race day. This was a job he performed over many years while with C & C, Roush Racing and Pratt & Miller Engineering. He saw competition in series that included IMSA GTO & GTP, NASCAR Super Trucks and SCCA Trans-Am. According to a team member, JR was there in the infancy of Pratt & Miller Corvette Racing which has had great success. Rosco also relates how JR was a mentor to the younger guys on the team and helped “raise them.” The role of mentor was one JR liked.
Telling stories came naturally to JR and his adventures traveling the country and abroad in his motorsports career provided him great material. His story of driving a huge U.S. race truck through the tiny French village streets on his way to Le Mans was a classic and also highlighted in the company magazine. Exploits with his buddies in the Class of 69, work on the family farm with an amazing cast of characters, and deer hunting trips up-north were among his repertoire of hilarious stories. Like other farm kids, he could do many things including mechanical and electrical work, carpentry and plumbing. His joke was “If I can’t fix it, it ain’t broke.”
Many summers Pattie and JR held wonderful reunions for both sides of the family and their many, many friends. Pattie owned and operated the Shady Lady Saloon in Fowlerville where JR and friends spent some mighty good times. To this day people still reminisce about the place.
JR spent years on the road so in his retirement he especially enjoyed his home in the country, his pets and watching the parade of animals on the property. He often quoted his Grandma Redfield to Pattie, “Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to mankind.” At the end of a phone call he would often say, “Bye, bye, love you much.” JR Redfield will be sorely missed, but remembered in the stories of others.
A celebration of life will be held in Spring 2021 with notification in the paper and phone calls.
Arrangements by Herrmann Funeral Home, Fowlerville, MI.