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Silsby, James Burnham


Posted By: Lisa Walden (email)
Date: 7/19/2021 at 21:08:42

James Burnham Silsby, son of Clifford Asaph and Amy Junia (Beecham) Silsby, was born August 2, 1902, on a farm near Pisgah in Harrison County, Iowa. He died at Resthaven in Independence, Missouri on Sunday, April 22, 1990, after a lengthy illness at the age of 87 years.

Burnham attended the Little Sioux Public School through the elementary grades, then enrolled in the Pisgah Public School where he graduated from high school in 1919. In extracurricular activities, he was active in athletics and speech contests.

He was a life-long member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, being baptized at age of nine. He remained a faithful and devoted member all his life. He was active as a choir member for many years, as well as serving as Bishop's Agent in the group where he lived.

Burnham enrolled at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa in the fall of 1919 and excelled in athletics, especially football. In fact, he played in the first game he ever saw. After attending Graceland for three semesters, he returned to farming. For a part of that time, he rented some Indian land near Walthill, Nebraska and "batched it." He proved to be a better farmer than a cook.

In 1929 he came to Lamoni, Iowa where he worked for the General Supply Co. for 10 years. Then for 5 years, he sold Standard Oil. In 1944 he was appointed Postmaster for the city of Lamoni and served at this post for 25 years. He then retired and the years were spent traveling and enjoying life in general.

He was married to Thelma Bell Lane of Lamoni on June 7, 1931. Three children were born to them: Junia Clare, James Burnham, Jr., and Margaret Ruth. The family lived an active and happy life.

Some of Burnham's hobbies were farming, raising cattle and horses, playing golf, and bowling. Burnham served his community by serving on the town council, was chairman of the Fair Board for several years, and belonged to the Rotary and Lion's Clubs.

Preceding him in death were his parents and two sisters, Gladys Butterworth and Vivian Silsby.

His survivors include his wife Thelma of the home in Lamoni; daughter Junia Clare Braby and husband of Independence, Missouri; son James B. Silsby, Jr. and wife Rose Marie of Lamoni; daughter Margaret Ruth Grice and husband William of Independence; grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Steven Braby and wife Julie and daughter Meghan of Kansas City, Missouri; Dan Braby and wife Susan of Salt Lake City, Utah; David Braby and wife Jeanne of Columbia, Missouri, Beth Braby of Columbia, Missouri; Debbie Kepner and husband Jeff and son Josh and daughter Therese of Rochelle, Minn.; James S. Silsby and wife Lorne and daughter Angela and son Andrew of Fort Bliss, Texas; Terry Silsby of Boise, Idaho; Chris Silsby of Corvallis. Oregon; Tricia Silsby of Boise, Idaho; Jeff Silsby of Lamoni; Jonathan and Carrie Beth Grice of Independence: step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Barbara Kern and husband Roger and daughter Jamie and son Cody; and Ray Kaler; other relatives and many friends.

Burnham found great pride and joy in the achievements of his children and grandchildren. He was a kind and loving husband and father, and brought his family great happiness. His keen sense of humor, especially during the depression, made the rough spots easier to take. All of the children remember the 'fun times' at the farm.

"Santa Claus" and the jingle bells outside the window, learning to ride horseback and other activities. Among other admirable characteristics that will be long remembered is the understanding and concern he always had for friends who came to him for help. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him--for his quiet and friendly ways.

Memorials may be sent to the Lamoni R.L.D.S. Church Organ Fund or to the Lamoni Lions' Club.

Funeral services were held at II a.m. April 27, 1990 at the Lamoni R.L.D.S. Church with Elder Frank Hough and Elder Robert B. Hynden officiating. Burial was in Rose Hill Cemetery, Lamoni, Iowa. Arrangements were made through the Slade-O'Donnell Funeral Horne of Lamoni.

Source: The Lamoni Chronicle, published in Lamoni, Iowa on Thursday, May 3rd, 1990, pg 6.


Decatur Obituaries maintained by Constance McDaniel Hall.
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