James Galbraith

James Bartrom "Jim" Galbraith

Thursday, March 2nd, 1944 - Sunday, July 19th, 2020
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James Bartrom “Jim” Galbraith March 2, 1944 ~ July 19, 2020
Jim made his final flight on Sunday morning, July 19, 2020 and began his journey west. Before his departure, Jim was surrounded by the love of his life, his eternal wife of over 57 years, Sharon, his son Jimmy, daughter in law Kristin, sister Judy and nephew Joe. Jim lived a wonderful life of 76 years.
Jim began his life on March 2, 1944 as the second son to Bill and Gladys Galbraith growing up in the Hanging Rock section of Roanoke County, Virginia. Jim shared his youth with his older brother Billy and younger sister Judy.
Jim graduated from Andrew Lewis High School in Salem in 1962 and it was there he first met the one woman that would forever change his life, his high school sweetheart Sharon Fore whom he would marry in June 1963.
Upon graduating from High School, Jim enlisted into the United States Marine Corps Reserve where he served in the local Reserve unit as a Sergeant until his honorable discharge in 1970.
Jim and Sharon became permanent residents of Salem in 1966 and have lived in the same home ever since that time.
During his service in the Marine Corps Reserve, Jim continued to work at his family’s business until his father suddenly passed away in 1971. It was then that Jim made the difficult choice to continue the family business. Under his leadership, Galbraith Electric Motor Service began a 15+ year span of unprecedented success. Jim (with Sharon’s help and support) grew the family business from a small one-man operation to a competitive leader in the Electrical Apparatus Service industry headquartered in Salem. Over those many years, the business prospered and expanded as it served numerous clients and industries in Virginia.
As busy as Jim and Sharon were, they found time to enjoy play time and recreational activities with family and friends. Jim played softball, enjoyed hunting and fishing, and yes, even rode and raced motorcycles (it was in his family’s blood). He even found time to sponsor 2 women’s softball teams in the late 70s. One of the teams, "Jim’s Allstars" rose to regional and national prominence with his support, played in the 1978 USSSA World Championships. In the early 80s, Jim became an avid bowler and was named Bowler of the Year by his team. Also, during this busy time in his life, he took the time to become a second father to his nephew Joe in sponsoring and encouraging him to become a professional motorcycle racer after Joe lost his father (Jim’s Brother, Billy) to cancer in 1981. Jim also provided support and consultation when his nephew started his own business.
But it was not all fun and work for Jim as he did endure some battles in life and courageously faced them to beat the odds. The first battle came in 1975-76 when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease. After successful treatment that resulted in a full
remission, Jim continued onward. The next battle came in 1986 when he suffered a major heart attack that would cause further issues for the remainder of his life. With excellent medical treatment and a will to live on, Jim again beat the odds but eventually sold his first business venture to make time to enjoy life and slow down or so we thought.
This was where Jim found his next calling, Aviation. Inspired by his son’s success in becoming a Professional Airline Pilot, Jim began to earn his wings (with his son, Jimmy being one of his flight instructors) and eventually became a Commercial Pilot to start career #2. SLIP, Inc became his next successful business venture in the aviation industry. Jim, thru this venture, provided professional pilot and consulting services to several clients in Virginia. It was in this second calling, that the foundation was laid in fostering new friendships with other aviators that shared his love for flying. Many of those fellow aviators became Jim’s best friends and part of the family. He also took the time to self-teach and learn personal computer systems and found time to have a side business in desktop computer servicing and repair.
In his “retired” years, Jim enjoyed working on John Deere lawn tractors and computers while spending time at home with his family. Jim again faced other hurdles as he was diagnosed in 2016 with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and in 2018 with Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Earlier this year, Jim received radiation treatments and more recently, surgical procedures for Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Unfortunately, Jim could not overcome the post-surgery obstacles.
He is preceded in passing by his parents, Bill and Gladys Galbraith, older Brother Billy and his in laws, George and Mae Fore. Jim is survived by and will forever live in the hearts of his family including his high school sweetheart and wife of 57+ years Sharon; son James M. “Jimmy” and daughter-in-law Kristin; daughter Crystal Bollinger and son- in-law John C. Bollinger with daughters, Kate, Anna and Sarah (Jim’s granddaughters); sister Judy Simmons and brother-in-law Stan Simmons with son Charly; brother-in-law Stephen G. Fore; nephew Dennis “Joe” and son (Jim’s great nephew) William Galbraith; sister-in-law Janet Galbraith; niece Deborah Galbraith; Uncle Luther Garst, Jr. and wife Martha; numerous cousins and his “other” Daughter, Stephanie Kent Sigman and her husband Patrick.
Jim was extremely proud of his 3 granddaughters and how they have grown to be such wonderful young women. He loved them with all his heart.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations may be made to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN in memory of Jim Galbraith
Flying West
I hope there's a place, way up in the sky, Where pilots can go, when they have to die- A place where a guy can go and buy a cold beer For a friend and comrade, whose memory is dear; A place where no doctor or lawyer can tread, Nor management type would ere be caught dead; Just a quaint little place, kinda dark and full of smoke, Where they like to sing loud, and love a good joke; The kind of place where a lady could go And feel safe and protected, by the men she would know.
There must be a place where old pilots go, When their paining is finished, and their airspeed gets low, Where the whiskey is old, and the women are young, And the songs about flying and dying are sung, Where you'd see all the fellows who'd flown west before. And they'd call out your name, as you came through the door; Who would buy you a drink if your thirst should be bad, And relate to the others, "He was quite a good lad!"
And then through the mist, you'd spot an old guy You had not seen for years, though he taught you how to fly. He'd nod his old head, and grin ear to ear, And say, "Welcome, my son, I'm pleased that you're here. "For this is the place where true flyers come, "When the journey is over, and the war has been won "They've come here to at last to be safe and alone From the government clerk and the management clone, "Politicians and lawyers, the Feds and the noise Where the hours are happy, and these good ol'boys "Can relax with a cool one, and a well-deserved rest; "This is Heaven, my son -- you've passed your last test!"
Author: Capt. Michael J. Larkin
The family will receive friends on Thursday, July 23, 2020, from 5 until 6:45 pm in the Chapel of John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home in Salem. Funeral services to honor Jim’s life will be conducted at 7 pm on Thursday, July 23, 2020, in the funeral home chapel with Pastor Roy Kanode officiating. Private interment will be held at Cedar Lawn Burial Park in Roanoke. Face masks and social distancing will be required per state guidelines. Expressions of sympathy may be made to the family by visiting

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 | 5:00pm - 6:45pm
    Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 5:00pm - 6:45pm
    John M. Oakey & Son Chapel
    305 Roanoke Blvd.
    Salem, VA 24153
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 | 7:00pm
    Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 7:00pm
    John M. Oakey & Son Chapel
    305 Roanoke Blvd.
    Salem, VA 24153
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Pastor Roy Kanode
  • Interment

    Cedar Lawn Burial Park
    Address Not Available
    Roanoke, VA
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Paul J Emanuelson

Posted at 08:01pm
I was sad to see the notice of Jim's passing. I had the pleasure of getting to know Jim when he became the go to person for solving equipment electrical problems on some of the more complex equipment at Timber Truss. He quickly became a good friend. He will be sorely missed by many.

Paul Emanuelson

Katherine Pate

Posted at 09:30am
It was an honor to know Jim for over 20 years. He was not only a great neighbor, but a friend. He was always willing to assist me in any endevor. I will always remember his optomism and hisfamous words "Katherine, we could do that, its no problem". After my husband died, he was always called on by me to assist and provide guidance. since h was one of the smartest people I have ever met. I will fondly remember mhim teaching me how to use the nowblower to clear everyon's driveway in the neighborhood. Rest Easy Jim :)

Harvey Riley

Posted at 08:10pm
So sorry to hear Jim passed. I was privileged to know Jim when we bowled together in the 70's and 80's on his team. I always thought Jim was a great guy and considered him a great friend. But with everything, life got in the way and we kind of lost contact over the years. I remember our bowling team was called WFO in those days and we always had a lot of fun on bowling nights. I also remember when Jim got his pilot license and plane. He took me and Gary up for a spin to buz smith mountain lake and just a ride in general. I will always remember him. Prayers for his family in this trying time.

Elizabeth G. DeCarolis

Posted at 04:06pm
Words are not enough - we all feel such sadness in saying good-bye to Jim - for now.
Special love to you, dear Sharon; Judy and Stan, Jim and Kristin, Crystal and John, and all the grandchildren and others who knew and loved Jim.
Betsy (Galbraith) and Larry DeCarolis
Durham, NC

Stephanie Sigman

Posted at 01:56pm
"Jimpop", you will be greatly missed by so many! I can't say enough how much I appreciated all you did for me over the years. But more importantly, I appreciate the way you and Sharon embraced me as one of your own. You all have been there in the good times and in the trying times. I will never forget that!

My thoughts and prayers are with all of the family and I will continue to be a friend and 'family member' as long as Heavenly Father allows me to be. Love you all!

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