James M. Srygley, 90, of New Providence, died September 2nd at Overlook Hospital. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, James was the son of Osceola Srygley and Wilhelmina Strider, and the brother of Lucile (Sister), Fletcher (Buddy), Wilhelmina (Mina), Edwin, and is survived by his sister Ann.
Jim graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Chemical Engineering. His work took him to Belgium, where he met the love of his life, Francine DeSchryver, who was by his side for 65 years of marriage. They raised 4 children: Catherine (Gary Evans) of Falls Church, VA; James Louis of Madison, NJ; Mark (Bonnie Tiburzi) of Chatham, NJ and Jacqueline Srygley of Madison, NJ. Jim also enjoyed the company of his grandchildren, Jillian, Benjamin, Allison and Calvin.
Jim served in the Army and was posted in Japan. After his service, he worked setting up oil refineries across Europe and met Francine through an arranged tennis match while consulting for the regional company in Belgium where Francine worked. Jim continued his education while raising a young family and earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M. His work took them to many places over the course of his career including Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Spain, England, France and The Netherlands. In 1980 he settled with his family in Chatham, NJ. He was an Executive Vice President with Mobil Oil upon his retirement.
His (early) retirement did not last long. He quickly earned his Realtor’s license and focused the next part of his career helping families who were moving to the NJ area from overseas. He opened his own real estate brokerage firm, Hampton Properties, and managed both his own rentals and other properties. He also served for many years on the board of a Wall Street investment company. He was an early adopter of all things related to technology.
In 2016, Jim graduated with a Master’s Degree in Theology from Seton Hall University at the age of 82, becoming one of the oldest graduates from the university. To earn this degree, Jim studied Ancient Greek and Latin. He continued his theological research and studies and was active through an online bible study group to his last day.
Jim (along with Francine) was an avid tennis player and played for many years on teams for Noe Pond Club in Chatham. In retirement, Jim took up golf which he thoroughly enjoyed although he would be the first person to make jokes about his golf skills. Jim spent many summers at his second home on Kiawah Island, SC. He was a voracious reader and always ready to discuss the new mystery he just finished or the biography he was starting. He was happiest with family and was renowned for organizing parties and events such as “Srygley Family Olympics”, “Surprise Chefs Basket”, and bingo nights with prizes. Annual family trips to Kiawah and world travels with Francine were also a big part of his happiness.
Jim considered himself very fortunate and endeavored to give back to his community as much as he could. He joined the Chatham Emergency Squad, and served as President. He really felt satisfaction helping people this way, and was a calm and reassuring presence during emergencies. He readily admitted he was not the best ambulance driver. Jim was active in the Kiwanis Club of Chatham in past years and served as President, and with the local chapter of the American Red cross, serving on the Board.
Jim was a member of Corpus Christi in Chatham, taught CCD classes and served as Eucharist.
After moving to the Lantern Hill retirement community in New Providence in 2018, James served as President of the Residents Advisory Committee, helping to ensure quality services and amenities to the many residents, new friends and neighbors.
In 2019 Jim was diagnosed with Chordoma, a rare cancer of the spinal cord. While undergoing treatment he became active with the Chordoma Foundation, helping newly diagnosed patients navigate their illness. He also wrote about his experience in order to help others.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to organizations James actively supported with his time:
Chatham Emergency Squad https://www.chathamemergencysquad.org/donate/
Chordoma Foundation https://www.chordomafoundation.org/