Spengler Nathanson Honors the Life of Long-Time Firm Attorney James P. Silk, Sr.

December 4, 2023


Spengler Nathanson honors the life of long-time firm attorney James "Jim" Paul Silk, Sr. Mr. Silk was a valued colleague and friend of the firm, its attorneys and staff, its clients, and the community. He was a skilled attorney with a twinkle in his eye and a unique ability to connect with others. We thank him for his hard work and friendship over the years, and send our love and respect to his family.

In honor of Mr. Silk, we share his obituary written by his son, James P. Silk, Jr., who is a partner with Spengler Nathanson:

James “Jim” Paul Silk, Sr., 92, of Sylvania, Ohio, passed away peacefully on Monday, October 23, 2023, surrounded by his loving family, after complications with multiple myeloma. He was born on May 22, 1931, in Toledo to his late parents, Joseph and Catherine (Sheehan) Silk. Jim’s life was defined by his family, faith, community service, and Notre Dame football.

Jim was born in Toledo and attended Blessed Sacrament grade school. He graduated from Central Catholic High School and then continued his studies at the University of Notre Dame where he majored in history. The first time Jim ventured outside of Toledo was when he took the train to South Bend to begin his freshman year. After graduating from Notre Dame, Jim spent a year at Michigan Law School before entering the United States Army during the Korean War. Following his military service, Jim returned to Toledo and began working for First National Bank of Toledo in 1957. The same year he enrolled in night school at the University of Toledo College of Law. Jim started his career in the bank’s loan department. At the end of his 40 year career at the bank and its successor Fifth Third Bank, Jim served in the dual role as head of the trust department and counsel for the bank.

Following his retirement from the bank, Jim joined the law firm Spengler Nathanson in an of counsel position. He spent 25 years with the firm before retiring. Jim’s expertise in trust matters was well known in Toledo. Jim taught classes on trust matters and also served as an expert witness in cases involving trust issues. Jim’s favorite memories of his career were his interactions with customers, clients, and other local attorneys. Jim served as President of the Toledo Bar Association, the Toledo Law Association, and the Ohio Banker’s Association.

Jim’s faith was a vital part of his life. He was a long time member of Corpus Christi University Parish. Jim would frequently attend daily Mass. His faith was evident in his treatment of others and his service to his community. Jim served on the boards of St. Vincent Hospital and Medical Association, the Toledo Humane Society, Siena Heights University, and the Sunset House.

Jim’s family took precedence with him above all else. He met his wife Kathryn “Kay” Croxson in 1963 at a Toledo Ski Club meeting. At the time, Jim had never skied, but attended the meeting after being given the tip that Kay would be there.

Although it is debatable whether Jim ever really enjoyed skiing, it is not debatable that his 60 year marriage with Kay was wonderful. Jim and Kay had two sons of whom Jim was immensely proud. Jim was very involved in their lives as a coach, fan, and friend. The positive influence he had on their lives cannot be overstated. Jim also loved and was proud of his seven grandchildren. Jim was grateful that he had the opportunity to know them and be able to attend their sporting events, extracurriculars, and the annual spring break trip in Siesta Key. One particularly special memory was the recent trip the family took to Ireland to meet his relatives.

Jim enjoyed traveling and had the opportunity to visit several countries. Among the most memorable trips were the bike trips that he and Kay took with several other couples throughout Europe and the United States. Jim showed his love for Kay by never complaining about the frequent visits to museums that occurred on their trips. Those that knew Jim were aware of his love of reading. He would take a book everywhere. This would include kid’s sporting events and doctors’ appointments. Jim was also an avid golfer and tennis player. Although he did enjoy the competition, it was the friendships that he developed which were more important to him.

Jim truly was a man of faith. Every aspect of his life reflected this faith. His family and friends benefited from his generosity, good humor, and storytelling. He will be missed.

Jim is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Kay; sons, Jim (Erica) Silk, Jr., John (Alison) Silk; grandchildren, Maeve, James, Jack, Keara, Liam, Colin, and Skylar; siblings, Kathleen Nowicki, Joseph (Jackie) Silk; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Nancy Culkowski; brothers in-law, Richard Nowicki, Edwin Culkowski.

Donations in memory of Jim’s life may be made to Corpus Christi University Parish, the Toledo Museum of Art, or the Toledo Symphony.