Blade staff writer
BOWLING GREEN – James “Jamie” Belleville, who knew the names, preferences and families of his customers as a third-generation co-owner of the Belleville Brothers Meat Market, died Nov. 25 in Wood County Hospital. He was 74 years old.
The cause of death is not yet known, said his wife, Barbara Belleville. He made a point of speaking with his brother, Mike, to go over the details of the farming business, before she took him to the hospital on Thanksgiving morning.
“They were so close,” his wife said.
Mr. Belleville lived on the farm in Plain Township where he grew up. He gave up his teaching career and joined his full-time brother at the family’s Bowling Green meat market in 1975, the year after their father, Ivan, died and their Uncle Russell retired.
“They worked as a team. One was right next to the other,” said his wife.
Her brother said, “We’re waiting for the third and fourth generations of people. Jamie and I have both been behind the meat counter since we were in seventh grade at school.”
A fourth generation Belleville is now in the business – her son, Bruce; his brother’s son, Ivan.
“That might not sound like a lot, but it took us generations to come together,” Mr. Belleville told The Blade in 2012. The market was founded a century earlier by their grandfather Archie Belleville and his brother, Leo Belleville.
The beef cattle they raised on the family farmland – fed on corn grown by the family – have been sold over the years in the market.
“He called it a total product. When he fed that beef you knew what you were getting,” his wife said.
Mr. Belleville said in 2012: “I think in terms of today you would say we have a niche market.
And the family buys cattle from the junior cattle exhibitors at the Wood County Fair.
“We love local beef and buy as much of it as we can,” his wife said. The meat market is also known for its Pork-A-Lean sausage patties, a favorite with county fair goers.
The customers had his undivided attention. He might suggest, “‘This one will eat really well. Look at this marbled, ”remembers his wife. Or: “‘We just cut those pork chops.’
“It was a personal thing – ‘This chicken looks pretty good in here’ – and then he knew what everyone had,” his wife said. “He took care of you when you walked in there. He had a lovely way of making people feel special, and so did Mike. They give off that attention.”
He was a member of the Farm Bureau and the County Beef Producers Group. In 2020, Mr. Belleville and his brother were inducted into the Wood County Agricultural Hall of Fame.
He was born on March 16, 1947, to Mr. Marguerite and Ivan Belleville. He graduated from Bowling Green High School in 1965, where his activities included choral singing. In 1969, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in music education from Bluffton College. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in music education from Bowling Green State University. He was a vocal music teacher for the McComb School District, then taught music to elementary and high school students in Bowling Green before joining the full-time family business.
At the First Baptist Church in Bowling Green, he led congregation and choir singing and sang for weddings and funerals. At Belleville family reunions, her brother said, “The evening always ended around the piano. It was mostly hymns we sang – “How Great Thou Art,” “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder,” The Lord’s Prayer. ‘”
His survivors are his wife, former Barbara Mary Krebs, whom he married on August 21, 1974; son, Bruce Belleville; daughters Audrey Donald and Lauralee Richmond; brother, Michael Belleville, and seven grandchildren.
Visitations will be from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Deck-Hanneman Funeral Home, Bowling Green. A service of life celebration will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at First Baptist Church, Bowling Green. The services will be streamed live on the Hanneman Family Funeral Home Facebook page.
Family suggests tributes to Wood County Camp of Gideons International; Bethany Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, Ohio, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Posted by The Blade on Dec 2, 2021.