2017-03-16 / Life in Leelanau

Talk of the County

Having a conversation with Jim Sills


JIM SILLS, of Empire Township, says his father was a talented architect and artist and he’d like to have the time to take a painting class. JIM SILLS, of Empire Township, says his father was a talented architect and artist and he’d like to have the time to take a painting class. Name: Jim Sills

Town or township of residence: Empire Township

Resident of county since: We’ve lived here full time since Aug. 2008. We had a vacation home in Empire for about two years before that. We moved here from Rockford, Ill.

Age and birthplace: I’m 66. I was born in Ann Arbor.

Occupation: I’m a retired educator. I was the director of the respiratory care program at Rock Valley College in Illinois for 28 years. Now I’m a writer, I have a textbook and a webbased educational product.

Marital status: I’ve been married to Deb Sills since Dec. 1973, for 43 years.

You live in Leelanau County because: It’s just beautiful up here. It’s good to be living in the middle of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The winters are hard, but as I’m shoveling snow and running the snowblower I know it’s keeping me in shape for the kayak in the summer.

Last good movie you saw: “Rogue One.” I’m a big fan. I’ve seen all the Star Wars movies.

Last good book you read: “The Arsenal of Democracy,” by A.J. Baime. It’s about the Fords and the Ford Motor Company’s conversion from making cars to making bombs and tanks and all the weapons so we could win World War II.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would that be: Bill Gates. He has reached a point of being able to give away the money he’s made to do good all over the world.

Things important to you that you have accomplished so far: I think I’ve been a good educator, a good father and husband. I’m reaching a point in my life where I want to give back to my community and do good things for the people in my community.

What you hope to be doing in 10 years: Besides the obvious, being alive, I’d like to do more of what I’m doing now, which is to play more and work less.

Things you lose sleep over: Uncivil politics.

If you could change one thing in Leelanau County, it would be: To have a thriving middle class.

Favorite dessert: Moose tracks ice cream with nuts on top.

Are you a coffee drinker: Yes, with cream and sugar.

Favorite place in Leelanau County: Empire Beach park.

If you had more time you would: Take an art class and learn to paint. I live next door to Glen Arbor where they have all those art classes and I haven’t had the time to take any.

The words that best describe you are: Thoughtful, caring and I want the best for people.

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