Sunday, January 26, 2003


Georgina Silliman was professor, council member

By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

When Georgina Silliman retired as an education professor from Miami University in 1972, she didn't take it easy.

She went on to serve as an Oxford City Council member (1973-77), and was for three years a council representative on the Oxford Planning Commission and trustee of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana (OKI) Regional Planning Authority.

Her niece, Cherry Silliman of Baytown, Texas, said her aunt was definitely outspoken.

"She did not hesitate to write letters to her congressmen or representatives," Cherry Silliman said.

The Miami University professor emeritus of teacher education died Wednesday of congestive heart failure at the Westover Retirement Community in Hamilton. The former Oxford resident was 96.

Born in Calhoun County, Ark., in 1906, she earned a bachelor's degree from Western New Mexico University in 1935 and a master's from Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn., in 1939.

She taught in public grade schools in Calhoun County and New Mexico, as well as a number of universities and colleges in the mid-1940s. She taught at Highland University in New Mexico; Monmouth College of Education in Oregon; University of Dubuque in Iowa; and Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn.. In 1945, she came to Miami University, Oxford, where she taught for 27 years until her retirement.

She was active in a number of education organizations as well as civic and community associations.

Quoted in The Cincinnati Enquirer in January 1978, Ms. Silliman said, "I believe you should get involved totally in the community in which you live. When I taught I was professionally active on campus; when I retired I wanted to give my services to my community of Oxford."

While at Miami, Ms. Silliman was adviser to Kappa Delta Pi honor society and Theta Upsilon sorority.

She was active in fund raising and worked to raise $25,000 for a new Lane Public Library building in Oxford.

Her active lifestyle garnered a number of honors, including Oxford's Citizen of the Year in 1962 and the Enquirer's Woman of the Year in 1978. She was inducted into the Ohio Seniors Hall of Fame in 1987.

In 1965, she helped start the annual Hueston Woods arts and crafts show. As president of the Des Fleur Garden Club, she led the beautification project to distribute more than 1,000 seedling trees and establish Inloes City Park.

She served as president of the Society of Miami University Emeriti and trustee for the Area I Council on Aging and the Butler County Council on Aging.

She was a longtime volunteer with the Oxford United Methodist Church.

For six years, she served on the AARP Legislative Committee. In 1985, she was appointed Ohio coordinator for AARP's Citizen Representative program.

Survivors include her three sisters, Lucille Brislan of Frankfort, Ky, Imogene Clemons of Hammond, La., and Carol Maloney of Tupelo, Miss; one brother, John Silliman of Camden, Ark; and many nieces and nephews.

Services have been held.

Memorials: Georgina Silliman scholarship Fund, Miami University, Advancement Services Building, 926 Chestnut Lane, Oxford, OH 45056.

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