2013 Deceased Member — James Wilfred Pilgrim

In Memory of James Wilfred Pilgrim

James “Jim” W. Pilgrim, age 75, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his wife and children on September 28, 2013. He is survived by his loving wife Thelma; daughter Linda; son Kevin; son Brian, his wife Miriam and their daughter Zoe; and his brother John and his wife Anne.He was preceded in death by his sister Lois.

With an innate industrious work ethic, Jim began shining shoes at the age of three for a nickel each. A few years later, his life long love of mowing began. As a teen, mowing lawns became a primary activity which funded his interests in sports and other extracurricular activities. There are few sports that Jim did not play, with each one accompanied by nagging injuries and corresponding stories. In his retirement, he channeled his passion for sports into attending every home game of the North Adams SteepleCats of the New England Baseball League.

He graduated from Williams College class of 1960, and began a 23-year career at Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (now CIGNA), earning actuarial distinctions along the way, but it was not his style to advertise his “letters”. Jim rounded out his insurance career at Frankona America Reassurance and Swiss Re before retiring to Plainfield, a small town in western Massachusetts.

Jim was a well-known Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA 1969) having served on the actuarial examination committees for many years. He was a consummate reinsurance man always willing to understand his clients’ needs and positions. No wonder, in his career, he prized the salesman’s acumen and role. As a manager, he inspired and influenced many actuarial students who looked to him for guidance and direction.

Jim loved life and kids of all ages. He quite literally approached his final days with the enthusiasm of a “big kid” (as he often referred to himself). He volunteered throughout his life in the service of actual “kids”, as a little league umpire and a Sunday school teacher.

He served on the boards of Hilltown Community Health Center and the Mary Lyon Foundation, Inc. He was Plainfield’s representative to the Carl Nilman Scholarship Committee and Highland Ambulance EMS, Inc.

He never stopped mowing until the last time on September 7, 2013, mere three weeks before his death. He was always happy to be outside in the fresh air riding his mower, accompanied in recent years by his Border Collie, Daisy.