MARQUETTE, MI – William Jay “John” Letts, age 86, of Marquette, Michigan, died on Monday, November 29th, 2021, at Brookridge Heights Assisted Living, of natural causes.
He was born on March 7th, 1935, in Marquette, a son of the late Jim Letts and Betty (Arnett) Lambert. He was raised by his adoptive father, William (Bill) Lambert.
John lived a long and happy life. He grew up in UP logging camps and attended schools in Big Bay and Deerton. He worked on the west coast as a logger before moving back to Marquette. On May 19th, 1956, he married Barbara Bolduc. With his wife, he raised five children, giving them a good life, teaching the value of hard work, caring, adventure, and generous love.
John became a carpenter and founded Letts Drywall, Inc., becoming the largest drywall contractor in the Upper Peninsula. His legacy is seen in countless public buildings across the UP. He affiliated with the Carpenter’s Union for the benefits it offered his employees. He designed and built homes for his family, where he lived until a few days before his death.
An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed snowmobiling, hunting, and fishing. He built furniture, and restored antique trucks. The bread he made won top awards at annual Marquette Harvest Festivals. A prolific storyteller, he told first-person tales of local history. He was generous to his family and employees, always willing to help in any way he could.
John is survived by his children, Michael (Jayne) Letts of Negaunee, Larry (Elizabeth) Letts of Marquette, Scott (Terry) Letts of Marquette, and Barbra (Doug) Walton of Marquette; grandchildren, Jonathan, Abby, Steffan, Gabby, Chelsea, Scott, and Tina; sisters, Amy (Bryon) Ennis and Bertie “Susie” Davis.
He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, daughter, Rebecca Letts; brother, James Letts, and two sisters, Patsy Hill and Judie Morrison.
A memorial celebration is being planned for a spring date, tentatively in May 2022.
Memorial contributions can be made to Big Brothers Big Sisters, 97 Fourth St., Suite D, Ishpeming, MI 49849.
Canale-Tonella Funeral Home and Cremation Services is assisting the Letts family where memories of John can be posted at canalefuneral.com.