James F. McIlvaine, retired fire chief

April 10, 2013

James Fitzgerald McIlvaine, 73, of Kingsland, Ga., died Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at Hospice of the Golden Isles in Brunswick, Ga.

Mr. McIlvaine was born in Washington, D.C., on March 22, 1939, and graduated from Surrattsville High school in Clinton, Md, in 1957. He was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force in 1963.

Mr. McIlvaine served the nation’s capital as battalion fire chief, 8th Battalion, after a storied 21-year career with the District of Columbia Fire Department beginning with his appointment as a firefighter on June 6, 1963, to Truck 16. Public service and dedication to his family and friends defined his life.

After Jim’s retirement from the District of Columbia Fire Department on Jan. 8, 1984, he moved to East Burke, Vt., where he loved to fish, hunt, garden and ski. Jim dedicated much of his time helping others through his membership in Rotary and his leadership in the East Burke Congregational Church. He obtained his real estate license and opened a successful brokerage serving northeast Vermont. Subsequently, he moved to Rehoboth Beach and managed two beachfront hotels in Rehoboth and Dewey Beach. Jim loved and studied the game of golf and moved to Kingsland, Ga., in 2009, where he played at least three rounds per week with his friends at Laurel Island Links until weeks before his death.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Ceylon McIlvaine and Emily Fitzgerald McIlvaine Bennett; his aunts, Miriam Howard, Ethel Bram and Helen McIlvaine; his stepfather and World War II veteran, Joseph Bennett; his eldest son, Michael McIlvaine; and his beloved grandson and war hero, James R. McIlvaine, who gave his life in service of this nation on the battlefields of Iraq.

He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 36 years, Brenda Banning McIlvaine; his beloved sisters, Emily Logan of Virginia Beach, Va., and Joanne Pelekakis and her husband Anthony of Baltimore, Md.; his brother, Douglas McIlvaine and his wife Barbara of Lewes; his daughter, Kelly McIlvaine of Olney, Md.; two sons, Kevin McIlvaine of Damascus, Md., and James Wrixam McIlvaine and his wife Molly of Saint Simons Island, Ga.; nine grandchildren, Airen Ross, Laura Huffman, Allie Huffman, Kevin Huffman, Timothy McIlvaine, Hailey McIlvaine, Samantha McIlvaine, Harper McIlvaine and McIlroy McIlvaine; two great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Jim’s interment will be a private ceremony at his ancestral burial plot in Cool Springs Presbyterian Church in Cool Springs. A Memorial Service to celebrate his life will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 20, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Rehoboth Beach with the Rev. Dr. Frank Deming Jr. officiating. A reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a memorial gift in Jim’s name be designated to neuroendocrine cancer research at the Mayo Clinic. (Checks may be made to Mayo Clinic). Gifts can be mailed directly to Mayo Clinic, Department of Development, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN, 55905, or made online at

Chapman Funeral Chapel & Crematory of Brunswick, Ga. is in charge of the arrangements.


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