James Lewis McCullough, 91, passed peacefully Saturday, May 20, 2023, at his residence at The Lakes at Jefferson, Mercer, after moving earlier this year from his home of 66 years on McCullough Road, Jefferson Township.
Jim was born Sunday, December 27, 1931, at his grandparents’ home on the McDowell family farm in Delaware Township, to James Alexander McCullough and Eunice McDowell McCullough.
Some of his fondest memories were as a boy growing up on the farm, working alongside his father at his sawmill, hunting with his favorite redbone coonhound, and enjoying the freedoms that environment provided a young boy who loved the outdoors.
Jim was a 1950 graduate of Mercer High School. After graduation he went to work on the Tennessee Gas Pipeline before joining National Castings. Jim served in the United States Army from 1953 to 1954, stationed in Germany. Honorably discharged as a Corporal in late 1954, he returned from Germany to become engaged to the love of his life, Audrey Barr, at Christmas that year. Jim and Audrey were married September 3, 1955, in Clarendon, PA. They honeymooned in Niagara Falls before enjoying the next 68 years together working hard, raising four daughters and a son, and making many wonderful memories. Through their dedication to each other and their family, Jim and Audrey created a legacy for their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
A lifelong resident of Jefferson Township, Jim and his brother Wayne inherited the McCullough homestead farm on Charleston Road from their father upon his early death in 1956. At that time, they ceased the dairy operation and together operated McCullough Brothers Farm, raising beef cattle and producing corn, wheat, and soybeans, for the rest of their lives.
In addition to farming full time, Jim enjoyed a career as an electrician, first with the National Castings Division of Midland Ross Corporation for over 30 years. After retiring from National Castings in 1983, he continued his career with Maintenance for Industry for an additional 10 years, retiring in 1993.
In his youth Jim played shortstop for the Mercer High School and Jefferson Township baseball teams. As a young man he was a competitive archer with the Western Reserve Sportsmen’s Club, traveling to many tournaments in the East. He enjoyed hunting and being outdoors, but his true passion was the relaxation and enjoyment he found on open waters.
An avid fisherman, Jim crafted custom-made fishing poles and lures for family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. He was happiest tending a cast line, whether from his boat, or fishing charters on Lake Erie, or during travels that took him to salt water. For four decades Jim enjoyed trips to Bay View Resort in Lakefield, Ontario, Canada, and fishing Deer Bay for Muskie. Deer Bay was a favorite family destination for boating, fishing, and skiing, beginning with his father and uncles in the 1950s.
Jim was civically engaged in his community and enjoyed politics, serving elected office as a Jefferson Township Supervisor from 1977 to 1982. He was a candidate for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the 17th District in the 1982 Primary Election. Jim continued to serve for many years as a Mercer County Jefferson Township Republican Precinct Committeeman and on the Mercer County Republican Committee Board of Trustees.
Jim was a member of Community of Christ Church, Transfer, the Pennsylvania Farmers Association, and a founding member of both the Jefferson Township Civic League and the Jefferson Township Volunteer Fire Department. As an active volunteer with the Civic League, Jim served as Chairman of the Jefferson Township Fair from 1991 to 2005.
Jim lived a rich life with lasting memories, many of which he documented through the lens of his camera, taking thousands of photographs during his lifetime. This history for his family was created, first with 35mm slide and print photos, and later with digital. He enjoyed the transition to digital where he never risked running out of film.
Jim lived his life in line with his higher values, committed to providing for his family, serving his country and community, and most important, relying on his faith in God to navigate life’s challenges.
Jim is survived by his wife Audrey and their five children, Deborah Black (Neil), Susan Bertocchi, Lynda Aiken (Larry), James McCullough Jr (William Mickler), and Lisa Holmes (Michael). Additionally, he is survived by five grandchildren, Adam Bertocchi, Melissa Rawson, Lauren Holmes, Alex Holmes, Megan Holmes, and four great-granddaughters. He was preceded in death by his parents, a grandson Michael Bertocchi Jr, a son-in-law Michael Bertocchi Sr, and his brother and sister-in-law Wayne and Shirley McCullough.
The family would like to extend their gratitude to the caregivers and staff at The Lakes at Jefferson, as well as Helping Hands Hospice of Hermitage for their kind care and support. If you wish, a donation in Jim’s honor can be made to the Jefferson Township Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 52, Mercer, PA 16137.
Friends may call Friday May 26th, 2023 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm in the SHERMAN Funeral Home & Crematory 2201 Highland Rd. Hermitage, PA 16148.
Funeral services will be held Saturday May 27th, 2023 at 11:00 am in the SHERMAN Funeral Home with Pastor Jean Schultz officiating.
Burial will take place in Mt. Washington Cemetery.
Arrangements entrusted to the SHERMAN Funeral Home & Crematory Hermitage, PA.
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