James “Jim” L. Jilek passed away on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 in Jacksonville, Fla. after a lengthy illness.
James was born on Nov. 12, 1928 In San Benito to Lloyd and Virginia (Hickey) Jilek of Schulenburg. James graduated in 1947 from Schulenburg High School. He was active in sports and the Boy Scouts, where he acquired the rank of Eagle Scout. Shortly after graduation, he joined the Navy. During his 20 years of service, he was recognized with awards and decorations including China Service-Navy Occupation, Europe Clasp, Good Conduct Medal (6th award) and National Defense Service (2nd award). James was a lifetime member of the VFW Post 7909, Jacksonville Fla., and Navy Fleet Reserve, and received the 70-year pin at West Jacksonville Branch 126.
James married Sylvia Teresa Dill in Sarasota, Fla. on Aug. 4, 1952. They had five children: Sally Marie, Barbara Sue, Mary Margaret, Shirley Ann and Jerome Anthony. (Sylvia died Feb. 26, 1966 at Fort Sam Houston at BAMC, after suffering injuries in a car crash in Jacksonville the previous November). In 1974, he married Ethel Athaline (Meadows) Kulbe.
James is survived by his daughters, Sally Bailey-Gault (Joe Gault), Mary Jilek and Ann Jilek; grandchildren, Hank Jilek, George Kaluna Graycochea, Ely James Graycochea and Lehualani Graycochea, and four great-grandchildren; sisters, Sister Joyce Jilek, CDP, and Margaret Citzler; and stepchildren, Dwight Kulbe, Elaine Kulbe Schneider and Renea Kulbe Mason.
James was preceded in death by his parents; wives, Sylvia and Athaline; daughter, Barbara Graycochea; son, Jerome; infant twin brothers, William Harry and Charles Larry; sister, Shirley Pavlik; brother-in-law, Clinton Citzler; and step-son, Russell Kulbe.
On Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, James’ family and friends gathered at Hard-age Giddens Rivermead Funeral Home, Orange Park, Fla. for visitation and rosary. A funeral Mass was held on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Jacksonville, Fla. James was buried on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 at the Jacksonville National Veterans Memorial Cemetery, with full military honors.