Obituary of James William Chelton
James William “Jim” Chelton, a longtime resident of Hydetown Borough, was born on September 21, 1942 near the shores of Chautauqua Lake in North Harmony, New York. He was the fourth of six children – four boys and two girls – born to Lloyd Wayne and Fern Viola (Potter) Chelton. Lloyd was a pastor for the United Methodist church and the family moved frequently for much of Jim’s youth eventually arriving in Hydetown Borough in 1955 where he lived for the next sixty-one years of his life before moving to Tennessee. He was a graduate of Titusville High School class of 1960.
Jim was an active member of whatever community he lived in and exhibited this in the many roles he volunteered to serve in. The church was his primary outlet and he served actively in numerous roles in all of those his father was pastor at and especially for those Jim himself was a member of including Hydetown UMC, East Troy UMC, Titusville UMC, and Spring Hill UMC (Spring Hill, TN). He could always be found doing building repairs, ushering, flipping eggs on Easter morning, serving on various committees, etc. Serving the church and its people was central to his being.
As a young man he also joined the Titusville Lions Club and as one part of that organization he would rise early on a special Saturday morning each year to staple paper pie plates to sticks so later that day the people of Titusville could enjoy the Lions Club parade and in later years the Oil Festival Parade. Jim would organize and “put on the street” both the Lion’s Club/Oil Festival and Hydetown Festival parades for twenty plus years through the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Jim also was an active member in setting up booths at the Hydetown Festival each year continuing through the early years as the Fireman’s festival. As part of the Hydetown community, he served it in many ways including Cub Scout leader and as a charter member of the Hydetown Fire Department where he served on the Fire Police. He also volunteered to help maintain the history of the community by being an active member of the East Troy Cemetery Association serving in many roles and was active in the yearly clean ups at the cemetery.
During his youth Jim was interested in being a mechanic but eventually chose to become a carpenter like his father. He ran his own business doing contracting work and selling building supplies out of his shop on Route 8 in Hydetown, but eventually he chose to go to work for Schnarr’s Construction of Meadville where he worked for twenty years until his retirement.
Throughout his life he has enjoyed loving and being with his family and for many years kept the family genealogy and collected family pictures and mementoes. In May 1972, he married Helen Louise Bradley at the East Troy UMC and together they raised three children - Brian James and wife Angie of Lancaster, PA; Valerie Fern of Spring Hill, TN; and Eric Michael and wife Miki of Sellersville, PA - in the house he built for Helen next to his shop in Hydetown. In 2017, they celebrated forty-five years of sharing all the ups and downs of their life together. In his later years, Jim has enjoyed spending time watching his eight grandchildren (Amie, Belle, Eva, Lucy, Alex, Khady, Fae, and Ben) grow up. On Monday, June 11th at the age of 75, Jim passed away after suffering several strokes over the years and a long battle with vascular dementia and neuropathy in his feet and hands. He was preceded in death by both parents, his sister Jeanette Ruth Briggs Beish, his sister Mona Louise Herman, and his grandson Anduril Chelton. He is survived by his immediate family, his three brothers - Herbert Lloyd “Herb” of Brentwood, TN, Richard Wayne of Conroe, TX, and Kenneth Lee “Ken” of Sprague, NE; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Friends may call at the First United Methodist Church 302 W. Walnut St., Titusville, PA 16354 on Saturday from 9:00 to 11:30 AM with the funeral service to follow conducted by his son Rev. Eric Michael Chelton.
Interment will be at East Troy cemetery where he will be laid to rest next to his grandson and within sight of the resting place of his parents and sister Mona.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the First United Methodist Church 302 W. Walnut St., Titusville, PA 16354 or to your local Alzheimer’s Association.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Gordon B. Garrett Funeral Home 303 N. Washington St., Titusville, PA 16354. If you would like to leave a condolence for the family go to garrettfuneralhomeinc.com.