James G. Sleeth, age 67 died on July 24, 2017. Born on August 21, 1949 in Bellingham, WA, he was the son of the late Standford H. and Phyllis N. (Gossom) Sleeth.
Jim Sleeth arrived in Elmira in 1983 to begin his new job as the Director of the Steele Memorial Library. As a farm kid, growing up in western Washington, with few books in his home, he was transformed by the appearance of a bookmobile. He became an avid reader and later, a library director. Jim loved everything about the Steele library. He loved and researched its history, and he promoted rich programming, through which a new generation of readers could capture the love of reading. During his 26 year career, Jim was most proud of working with the community to stabilize the library's future through the creation of the Chemung County Library District, which meant that voters had more control over the future of our libraries.
Jim had lived in many parts of the country, but he believed that the Southern Tier of New York was as beautiful a place to make a home as you could find. He enjoyed and got involved in the region's wealth of culture, from the Clemens Center to the music programs at Grace Church. He spent many lunch hours appreciating the paintings in the Arnot Art Museum. And he especially loved the Arctic League, because it was a perfect example of the compassion and generosity to be found in our community.
Jim was an avid gardener, with his wife, Lynn Shepson. The anniversary trees they planted each year stand as his best memorial. He enjoyed sharing his interest in sports with his mother in law, Marilyn Welles. Jim was a loving stepfather to his three children, Jillian (Kenneth) McLaughlin, Georgia (Patrick) Leiby, and Bradford R. Test. His grandchildren, Alexis and Silas McLaughlin, and Celia Leiby, enriched his life beyond measure, and brought joy to his final years.
There will be no calling hours, and a private ceremony for the family will be held at a later date. For those wishing to honor Jim, consider doing something to benefit an organization which you love in Chemung and Steuben counties.
Phillips Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 17 W. Pulteney St., Corning has been entrusted with the arrangements.