James Burl Milliron passed away on April 9, 2019, at the age of 94 in St. Anthony’s Hospital, Gig Harbor Washington. Jim and wife Annabelle lived in Purdy and Gig Harbor Washington for more than 65 years.
Jim was born on July 19, 1924, in Mt Pleasant Pennsylvania to Burl and Leona Ruth Rhinehart Milliron. He had three siblings: Clyde Howard Milliron (June 22, 1912-July 18, 1996), Lois Grimm (July 6, 1917-November 1988) and Leona Czerniak. He graduated from Ramsey High School in Mt Pleasant. He lettered in football and his family still has the letter from his sweater to prove it! After high school, Jim worked as a salesman for the local glass factory, Bryce Brothers, while continuing to live at home. During WWII, Jim joined the Army and was stationed at Fort Lewis, Wa while he trained to become a radio operator before serving overseas in France. Because of the cold, wet conditions, he contracted Trench foot and was sent, first to England and eventually home to Mt Pleasant for recovery.
While Jim was stationed at Fort Lewis, he met Annabelle at the First Congregational Church in Tacoma while attending a USO dance. Upon returning home for further recovery, he continued to correspond with Annabelle, and in 1946, he called Annabelle and asked her to marry him. Annabelle took the train to visit him and answered “yes.” And so on January 24, 1947, they married at the Church of the Brethren and honeymooned at Niagara Falls. The newlyweds lived in Mt Pleasant where Christine was born. After a few years Chris and Annabelle flew back to Tacoma with Jim following later. They were married for 71 years.
In 1954, the family settled in Purdy, Wa where Margaret and Jeff joined the family. Jim worked at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton as a ship scheduler/ship-fitter, until his retirement on December 29, 1981 after 33 years of service. Shortly after retiring from government service, he went to work at Peninsula Lutheran Church, performing maintenance duties. He and friend Warren Holzapfel began a painting business which continued for a few years. He also volunteered from 1964-1989 with Pierce County Fire District #5, retiring after 25 years.
Jim valued time with family and friends, and was very active in the community. Favorite activities included reading, gardening and woodworking. He played baseball for many summers with shipyard co-workers. Most spring and summers, he cultivated a vegetable garden. His first was on a neighbor’s property across the road from their Purdy home. He carried buckets of water up from the nearby creek. When they purchased the Kaffenberger’s farmhouse in 1965, he planted a vegetable garden in the back field. He enjoyed being outdoors and physically active. He participated in Boy Scouts and helped lead many a backpacking trek or day trip in and around the Olympic Peninsula. Golf provided many years of enjoyment with friends at local courses and in competition with Annabelle. He sang in the church choir. Jim was always up for a challenge. He and Annabelle learned to cross-country ski one winter after retirement while staying at the National Park Inn at Mt Rainier National Park. Thereafter, once a year they would meet a group of friends for a week of skiing while at staying at The Mazama Inn in Eastern Washington.
At the time of his death, he was survived by wife Annabelle Ruth Milliron, and children Christine Anne Milliron (born July 25, 1949) of Allyn Wa, and Margaret Lynne Knutson (born January 19, 1954) of Gig Harbor Wa; grandchildren Jennifer Lynne Knutson of Gig Harbor Wa, James Arthur (spouse Megan) Knutson of Gig Harbor Wa; and Christopher Adam (spouse Amanda) Knutson of Gig Harbor Wa. Great-grandchildren include Mia and Marley Knutson (father James), and Virginia and Milla Knutson (father Christopher).
He was preceded in death by son Jeffrey Philip Milliron on July 8, 2017 (born November 21, 1964); and son-in-law Gilbert Knutson (born August 28, 1948) on July 7, 2012.
Jim’s family sends many thanks to his church family at Peninsula Lutheran Church including, Pastor Chuck Slocum and congregation for many years of friendship and spiritual enrichment. In addition, we thank the staff at St. Anthony’s for their loving and kind care during his final stay.
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