James Riley Gilbert

May 19, 1933 ~ November 6, 2020 (age 87)


James Riley Gilbert, 87, of Schuylkill Haven, went to his eternal home, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, at St. Luke's Hospital, Orwigsburg.

Born May 19, 1933, in Cressona, he was a son of the late Bertha E. (Hepler) Gilbert and Roy LaRoss Gilbert. He was married to Elaine J. (Brown) Gilbert, sharing 62 years of marriage before her passing in 2018.

James served in the Army as a corporal during the Korean War. He was formerly employed by Reider Shoe Company, Schuylkill Haven, and Exide, Hamburg. After retiring, he worked part time for Concord Pharmacy Services and Bill's Produce.

He was a brother, uncle, stepfather, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and was affectionately known as Dad, Daddy, Pappy or Grandpappy to his family. For many years, he and his wife, Elaine, enjoyed camping together with their family and friends, hosting many family gatherings at the camper. He especially enjoyed a good card game with friends, as well as hunting and fishing. It brought him great joy to teach his love of the outdoors to his grandchildren. He would often be found at Stoyer's Dam talking up a storm and taking a stroll with his beloved dog, Sandy.

An avid fan of all Schuylkill Haven sports teams, he had a regular standing position holding up the fence at Rotary Field. He was proud of his grandchildren, their talents and accomplishments. His family has fond memories of his nicknames for them, still unclear as to how he came up with such unique names, but these terms of endearment stuck throughout their lives. Laughter emanated from his soul.

He will be dearly missed and forever in the hearts of his children, two daughters, Patricia Mehle, of Littlestown, and Barbara Gonder, of Elizabethville; four sons, Charles Bunnell, of Pottsville, Thomas Gilbert, of Tivoli, N.Y., James R. Gilbert, of Schuylkill Haven, and Michael Gilbert, of Schuylkill Haven. He also will be missed by his 10 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; one great-great grandchild; his two sisters-in-law, Jean Bernd and Shirley Ketrow; nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be private at the convenience of the family. The family requests donations in James' memory to VA Hospital, 1700 S. Lincoln Ave., Lebanon, PA 17042.

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