James H. Gilliam Jr., familiar to many at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as a charter member of the Board of Trustees, died unexpectedly on August 20, 2003, in Wilmington, Del., where he had lived for many years. We join with his family in their sorrow.
Jim, who was 58, chaired HHMI's Audit and Compensation Committee, yet his importance to the Institute went well beyond that key role. His wise counsel helped shape the Institute as we know it today, establishing our high standards of business practice and administration and fostering a commitment to a diverse scientific community.
Jim's family and friends knew him as a leader who never lost sight of others. Three years ago, as a surprise for his father's 80th birthday, Jim and his wife Linda created a fine arts endowment at Morgan State University in honor of his parents. The $1.5 million gift was the largest in Morgan State's history. As his sister, Patrice Gilliam-Johnson noted in a profile that appeared in The Baltimore Sun, “he's…the kind of person who reaches out to people who need something.”
Like his father, Jim was an alumnus of Morgan State. He received a law degree in 1970 from the Columbia University School of Law and practiced in New York City before joining a law firm in Wilmington. He later served the administration of Delaware Governor Pierre S. Dupont IV as Secretary of Community Affairs and Economic Development. In 1979, Jim joined the Beneficial Finance Corp. and was executive vice president and general counsel at Beneficial until 1998, when Household International Corp. acquired the company. Jim served as chief counsel of Knickerbocker LLC, a private investment firm, at the time of his death.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has by no means been the only beneficiary of Jim's time and wisdom. He served as a trustee of the National Geographic Society, the Delaware Community Foundation and on the board of several companies. For many years he also chaired Delaware's Judicial Nominating Commission.
In addition to his wife Linda, Jim is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James H. Gilliam Sr., one sister, Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, and three daughters, Alexis, Leslie and Morgan.
The memorial service for Jim Gilliam will be held at the University of Delaware's Bob Carpenter Center in Newark on Tuesday, August 26, 2003. The viewing will begin at 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. followed by a 12:00 p.m. service. For additional information, please call the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League at (302) 622-4300.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Morgan State University Foundation, Gilliam Endowment Fund, Truth Hall, Room 201, 1700 E. Coldspring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251.