James Arthur Dildine, age 88, 475 Third Street, Benton, died Saturday evening, October 10, 2009 at St. Luke's Hospital, New Bedford, Mass. where he was a patient for almost two weeks. He was in failing health for the past six months.
Born in Greenwood Township on June 3, 1921, he was a son of the late Howard C. and Jennie Ada (Young) Dildine. He moved to Sunbury at the age of six and to Benton in 1937.
He was a 1939 graduate of Benton High School and his class recently celebrated their 70th reunion.
Jim and his father started the Benton GLF in 1939 and later enlarged the business. He was in the trucking business and also spread lime for area farmers. He later was in the dairy farming business owning Sunny Hillside Dairy, Benton. Later he became a milk supplier and wholesale/retail supplier for the former Dairylea Co., Berwick.
He was a founding partner in J & B Honda, Bloomsburg; a partner in Dildine, Dildine & Clement, a real estate development firm in North Central PA; a partner in Susquehanna Nursing Home Associates, Selinsgrove; and a partner in Monroe Commercial Properties, a commercial real estate developer in Selinsgrove.
He enlisted in the US Army in 1942, and was selected for the Army Air Corps, serving as control tower operator in the South Pacific Theater until 1945. He was a charter member of Ft. Rickett's Post 8317, VFW, Benton.
Jim was a member of the Benton United Presbyterian Church for 70 years, serving as a Deacon and Elder. He also was a member of the former Benton Lodge #667, F & AM, serving as Worshipful Master in 1958, becoming a member of Oriental Lodge 460 F & AM, Orangeville when the two lodges merged. He was also a member of the Chimney Stack Rod & Gun Club, Red Rock since 1956 and was its most senior member at the time of his death.
He served his community as a member of the Benton Boro Council for two terms (eight years) and as Mayor for 15 years. He was designated as the director of reconstruction for the Benton Area following the devastation of Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
He was a charter member of the Benton Flying Club, holding a private pilot's license for over 25 years. He was an avid golfer, holding membership in Mill Race Golf Club, Benton and Whiskey Creek Country Club, Fort Myers, Fla. where he wintered for more than 20 years.
Jim was a great lover of automobiles, owning more than 40 cars in his lifetime. One of his favorites was a 1949 Chrysler Town & Country "Woody" convertible, now being restored to its original condition by his son.
On September 12, 1942 he married the former Ruth Marie Treasure, a new teacher in the Benton area and they celebrated 48 years of marriage before her death on June 2, 1991.
Surviving are a son, James T. Dildine, and his wife Carol, Mattapoisett, Mass; two daughters: Linda, wife of Robert Patton, Beaufort, N.C.; Janet, wife of Michael Spitzer, Richmond, Va.; seven grandchildren: Dr. Jennifer Russell, Mattapoisett, Mass.; James A. Dildine, II, Los Gatos, Calif.; Dr. David Dildine, Providence, R.I.; Michael Spitzer, II, Richmond, Va.; Eric Spitzer, Woodbridge, Va.; Kristie Patton, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Robert Corey Patton, Washington, D.C.; seven great-grandchildren: Nicholas, Oliver, Grace and Ava Russell, Mattapoisett, Mass.; James A. III, Ethan and Alexandra Dildine, Los Gatos, Calif., and a sister, Eleanor Klementik, Benton and one niece and two nephews.
Jim's booming voice and personality will be missed, his death signals the loss of another memorable giant from "the greatest generation".
Funeral services will be held on Saturday at 11 a. m. in the Benton United Presbyterian Church, Market Street, Benton, with his pastor, Rev. O. Allen Lumpkin officiating. Interment in Benton Cemetery with full military honors by the combined VFW group.
Friends may call at the Church Saturday, 9 to 10:45 a. m. Masonic memorial services will be held at 10:45 a. m.
The family will provide flowers. Memorials may be sent to the Columbia-Montour Home Hospice, 410 Glenn Avenue, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Dean W. Kriner, Inc., Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Benton.