James L. ConklinDecember 26, 2017
James L. Conklin, 83 of Girard and formerly of Mt. Jewett and Lansing, MI, died Tuesday December 26, 2017 at the PA Soldiers and Sailors Home in Erie.
He was born on November 27, 1934 to Paul A. and Lillian L. (Munson) Conklin in Kane, PA. He graduated from Kane High School. Following high school Jim enlisted in the US Air Force where he served with the 757th aircraft control warning squadron. His duties were photographer over enemy territory. He received the Korean Service Medal the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
Following his discharge from the military he moved to Lansing, MI, where he was employed as a Police Officer beginning in 1958. While serving there he was an original member of the START Team, (SWAT) and retired as Sergeant from the Police Department there in 1985. During his tenure there he was a Photographer and Fingerprint expert for the department and also taught classes on these subjects at the Lansing Community College.
Jim also participated in the "Pigs VS Freaks" football game in East Lansing. This game began when in the fall of 1970, it was reported to the police that "trespassers" who looked like "Hippies" were on the playing field of a local high school. When the officer asked them to leave, they refused.
During the ensuing conversations the "Freaks" challenged the "Pigs" to a football game. The officers accepted the challenge.
On November 7, 1970 the two teams met on that field for the first "Bull Game", more than 7,000 fans watched as the Freaks won the game.
Camaraderie developed between the two groups, and the Bull Bowl was moved to Michigan State University's football stadium to accommodate the spectators which eventually surpassed more than 40,000 individuals. These games continued from 1970 to 1977, and raised money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Jim was a noted player of these games, being known as "The oldest individual to have played in the game."
Following his retirement James moved to Mt. Jewett and became the Chief of Police for 10 years.
While in Lansing, Jim played fast pitch softball for the "Stobers Capitols" and loved hunting and fishing, especially on the Lower Peninsula in Michigan.
He was a member of the Girard American Legion Post #494 and the Tri-Boro Senior Center.
James will be greatly missed by his family which include his wife, Mary Lou (Dobson) Conklin, whom he married on November 16, 1989, also by three daughters, Julie Bollig (Bob), Shannon Lamping and Beth Ann Carter (Mike); three sons, Brian P. Conklin (Renee), Paul L. Conklin (Hannah) and Keith J. Conklin (David Janish); a step daughter, Julie Kraus; step sons, Robert C. Bard, David S. Bard (Kendall), James T. Bard (Tammy), Donald E. Swartwood, Timothy C. Swartwood (Lorrie), and Michael D. Swartwood; a sister, Bonnie Counts (Daniel); brothers, Ronald Conklin (Dolores) and Lauren Conklin (Jackie) and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, James was preceded in death by a sister, Maridel "Mert" Conklin.
Friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life followed by Military Honors at the Girard American Legion Post #494, 42 Wall St. Girard on Thursday, January 4, 2018 at 1 pm.
Memorials may be made to the American Legion Post #494, 42 Wall Street, Girard, PA 16417 or to the Tri-Boro Senior Center, 7555 West Ridge Road, Fairview, PA 16415.
To send condolences visit edderfuneralhome.com.