Col. James R. Lile, (Ret., KY ANG) 66, passed away on Sunday, May 18 at his home in Frankfort, Ky., after a 15-month battle with cancer.
Jim was born on January 16, 1948 in Christian County, Ky. He graduated from Christian County High School in 1966 and received his Bachelors of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1971.
Jim was a leader and mentor in many aspects of the community: State Government, church, Kentucky National Guard, Kentucky Association of Transportation Engineers and Commonwealth Credit Union, to name a few.
Mr. Lile began his service in Kentucky state government in May 1967 when he participated in the Engineer Scholarship Program. He was a life-long merit employee and retired in 2002 as Branch Manager of the Bridge Construction Division of the Transportation Cabinet.
Jim attended church faithfully. Most recently he was a member of Bridgeport Christian Church. Previously he was ordained and served as a deacon of Graefenburg Baptist Church and also served as deacon of First Baptist Church, Frankfort.
Colonel Lile first enlisted in the Kentucky National Guard on June 23, 1970. He became an officer on June 24, 1977. His service took him to Germany and Ecuador, among other places. Jim commanded the 206th Engineer Battalion in Richmond, Ky. from June 1, 1995 to September 30, 1998. His military awards included: the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the Kentucky Meritorious Service Ribbon, the Kentucky Commendation Ribbon, the Kentucky Service Ribbon and the Kentucky State Active Duty Ribbon. He retired on June 30, 2004 at the rank of Colonel, after serving his country for 34 years.
Mr. Lile was registered as a Professional Civil Engineer and he was very active in the Kentucky Association of Transportation Engineers, serving as president of the organization for one year.
Jim’s service to his community included involvement with the Commonwealth Credit Union, where he served on the credit committee for 18 years — from 1991 to 2009.
Jim is survived by his wife, Sherry Lile; daughters Natalie Lile (Shawn Daniel) and Allison Lile; grandchildren Julia Martinez, Emily Reed, Kyle Reed, Courtney Daniel and Rachel Daniel; great-granddaughter Eva Rogers; and sister Carolyn Stamper of Hopkinsville, Ky. He was preceded in death by his parents Harold and Lillian Lile, of Hopkinsville, Ky.
Family was of utmost importance to Jim. He loved his daughters and grandchildren, providing priceless advice and counsel for more than 40 years. He was very proud of his daughters’ education and professional accomplishments, both earning advanced degrees.
Jim and his wife, Sherry Lile, were married 47 years. They were inseparable — a true fairy tale love story. They spent 46 years raising children, grandchildren, traveling, dancing and laughing. They spent the last year cherishing every minute in each other’s company.
Jim loved life, traveling widely with family and friends. He spent winters in Clearwater Florida with his wife Sherry, where they hosted friends most of the time they were there. He was an avid fan of University of Kentucky basketball and, when in Frankfort, could be found with family and friends at Casa Fiesta several times a week.
Visitation will be held at LeCompte Johnson Taylor Funeral Home from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 24. A funeral service with full military honors will occur at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 25 at Bridgeport Christian Church in Frankfort. The family will host a celebration of life reception at Casa Fiesta on Louisville Road at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 25.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Kentucky Wounded Warriors Program, c/o Bluegrass Military Affairs Coalition, 128 E. Reynolds Rd., Suite 201, Lexington, KY 40517.