James H. Strimple, PhD.
Just shy of his 98th birthday, James Hoyt Strimple passed away peacefully on April 9, 2021.
Dying one day before his wedding anniversary so he could be with Jane. Born on May 5, 1923
he lived a life of service to family, community and his country. Born and raised in Penns Grove,
New Jersey, just blocks away from the Delaware River, he lived on 64 Penn Street. Dad was
predeceased by his wife Jane Trice Strimple, parents Emma (nee Taylor) and Harry Strimple, and
his sister and her husband, Helen and Carlton Hitchner. He lived through the depression, World
War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, man landing on the moon, the computer age and survived the
Covid Pandemic, but Father Time caught up with him.
After graduating from Penns Grove High School, Jim ventured north and attended Rutgers
University. Jim was a chemistry major and played the clarinet in the Rutgers Marching Band He
always bragged that he made the Dean’s List his freshman year, but not for attaining a high grade
point average. Despite his dubious academic standing, he pushed on and in his junior year he
enlisted in the Navy. Despite being chemistry major the Navy assigned him to the Sea Bees,
the Navy’s Engineering Corps, and sent him to Princeton University for his senior year. He
graduated in 1944 and was then sent to Notre Dame University where he frequently had guard
duty in the Indiana snow. After completing the V-7 Officer’s Program he was eventually
stationed in Pearl Harbor for the remainder of WWII.
Upon returning home, he met Winifred Jane Trice and they were married on April 10, 1948.
They settled in Milltown, New Jersey where he worked for National Lead and pursued his
Doctorate in Ceramics at Rutgers University. His course work was interrupted, as the Navy
recalled him for the Korean War. They spent the next few years in Oxnard, California where they
made many life-long friends. He returned to Milltown in 1953 and continued his studies and
received his Doctorate in Ceramics. During this time he had two sons, James Jr., born in 1950,
and Richard Trice, who was born in California in 1952. In 1955 he was blessed with two girls –
twins, Jane Ann and Margaret Ellen. The family lived in the same house on North Main Street in
Milltown for over 55 years, creating lifelong friendships and memories.
Jim continued with the Navy reserves, eventually retiring as a Commander after 40 years of
service. In 1962 he was on the Guantanamo Base in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crises.
Jim was much more than a scientist and Navy Officer. He was an avid and productive painter
specializing in water colors. He also had a talent for writing, especially limericks. He served the
Milltown Methodist Church in several administrative positions and wrote the history of the
Milltown Methodist Church. He also served on the Milltown Board of Education for 10 years.
He ventured into politics briefly, running for mayor, but was defeated. Once he retired, he was
the chairman of the Shade Tree Commission for Milltown for over 20 years. In 2006 he was the
Grand Marshall of the Fourth of July Parade. But, what made him the happiest, was his time
playing with his children, especially at Brookside Swim Club and at his shore home. He loved to
body surf the waves and to fish off the surf with his sons. He and Jane loved to travel and to see
the world and his last trip at age 85, he traveled to Africa. He mentioned it was his favorite trip
Dad wasn't into cooking much but he could make a great scrambled egg, bacon and dill pickle
sandwich, or a sardine with mustard sandwich! His pockets in his pants contained his favorite
items: a toothpick, handkerchief and a Swiss army knife, be prepared.
Dad was a creative and handy person. He built a row boat with Dick, repaired bicycles, had his
own dark room to develop photographs, made stain glass art, and caned chairs. Living in a very
old house required a lot of handyman skills from plumbing, electrical, to carpentry and Dad was
able to pull it off. He was of the mind, why pay someone else to do the work if he could figure it
out himself. Perhaps his biggest project was building a French drain in their basement, which his
sons had to break up the concrete basement floor every evening after dinner.
Of course we have to remember some of his favorite expressions: “Keep your wits about you.”
And then there was “Dad did your get your hair cut?” “No, I got them all cut.”
Dad is survived by his four children Jim, wife Diane (Princeton, N.J.), Richard, wife Liz
(Salisbury, Maryland) Jane, husband Bill (Missoula, Montana) and Margaret Scruggs,
(Lynchburg, Virginia); 6 grand daughters and their spouses, Taylor and Ryan Keenan, Hilary and
Alex Chiang, Erin Strimple-Barker, Meredith and Ben Skowronski, Sarah and Matt Reddell,
Courtney and Medford Sorrells, and 6 great grandchildren, Trice, Emerson, Colin, Eliza,
Andrew, and Winifred and one more on the way.
Friends wishing to say goodbye may visit Thursday, April 15th between 9:00 am and 9:45 am.
Due to the Corona Virus the family will hold private services.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Milltown Public Library, the Milltown
Methodist Church or better yet, plant a tree.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James H. Strimple, please visit our floral store.