James M. Sillaman, WWII Army corporal, retiree of Wyeth, musician, hunter

By on October 23, 2013

James Monroe Sillaman, 87, of Ephrata, passed away Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 at the Mennonite Home in Lancaster.

Jim was born in Ruffsdale Feb. 25, 1926 to the late George T. and Eleanor W. (Yockey) Sillaman. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Ida Frances "Fran" (Biggard) Sillaman and seven children: Carol S., wife of David Hinrichs of Shillington; James A., husband of Carol (Flanagan) Sillaman of Leola; Bryan L., husband of Ann (Giandalia) Sillaman of Mountville; Lynn E. Sillaman of West Warwick, R.I.; Dawn E. McCarthy of Franklin; Mark A., husband of Michelle (Gould) Sillaman of Uniondale and Todd A., husband of Tracy (Bachman) Sillaman of Mount Joy. There are 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two brothers: Gary C. Sillaman of Derry and Ronald L., husband of Connie (Hillis) Sillaman of Hunker; and one sister: Marjorie Schultheis of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Jim was predeceased by two brothers: Dean A. and William G. Sillaman.

Jim graduated from Youngwood High School in 1943 after which he served his country during WWII in the Army Air Corps as a gunner/radio operator on a B17 bomber. He achieved the rank of Corporal.

Jim graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 1954 with a B.S. in biology, and then attended University of Pennsylvania veterinary school. He started his career in medical research at Merck, Sharp, & Dohme and eventually transferred to Wyeth Laboratories in Marietta when he moved to East Petersburg in 1962. He retired from Wyeth in 1987.

A lifelong sportsman and avid hunter, Jim had the opportunity to hunt turkey with National Turkey-Calling Champion, the late Ben Rogers Lee, in the early 1970s, which fostered a real passion for turkey hunting. He used the skills he acquired to mentor many young hunters in the area around his cabin in McKean County.

Jim was a man who made a lasting first impression on people, combining a keen intelligence with an engaging personality which won him many friends throughout his lifetime. He was largely a self-taught musician who would entertain any size audience with his singing, harmonica playing, and guitar and banjo picking. He switched from various types of music with ease, including Christian, Bluegrass, and others. Jim was a fascinating storyteller who captivated audiences young and old, family and friends, with stories of past escapades and adventures. Jim lived life to the fullest.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the Ephrata Hospital staff, the staff at the Mennonite Home, and the staff of Hospice and Community Care for their excellent care and compassion during Jim’s illness.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 25 at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1905 Broad St., East Petersburg with Pastors Daniel M. Long and Mary-Margaret Ruth officiating. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 24 at Charles F. Snyder, Jr. Funeral Home & Crematory, 3110 Lititz Pike, Lititz, and again one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday. Burial will be in Laurel Hill Memorial Gardens, Columbia at 3 p.m. on Friday.

Kindly omit flowers. Memorial contributions in Jim’s memory may be made to Hospice & Community Care, 685 Good Dr., PO Box 4125, Lancaster, PA 17604.

To place a condolence online, visit snyderfuneralhome.com.

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