Obituary of James Sirmons
SIRMONS, James "Jim" Franklin, 100, passed away peacefully at 2:25 am on Friday, 20 Apr 2018 in his home in Saint Petersburg, FL. Born in 1917, he attended Saint Petersburg Junior College and the University of Florida, and started a career in radio, working for Ohio stations WCKY and WFMJ. He met Virginia L. Gorgas in Youngstown, OH and married her on 16 Jun 1941 in Dunedin, FL.
In 1942 he joined CBS in New York as Production Supervisor. His voice was often heard over national radio saying, "This is the CBS Radio Network," and he announced musicians such as Frank Sinatra and Fred Allen before they came out on stage in front of a live audience. He worked and golfed with many news personalities including Edward R. Murrow, Douglas Edwards, Paul White, Robert Trout, and Lowell Thomas. He managed the production of the first live televised presidential election in progress (Truman vs Dewey on 2 Nov 1948) and worked closely with CBS founders William S. Paley and Frank Stanton. He concurrently taught classes in radio broadcasting at NYU. One of his former students, radio & television host Larry King, accredits Sirmons as being a pivotal person in the success of his own career.
In 1957, Jim was promoted into the Labor Relations department at CBS. He also joined the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds where he remained on the board of directors for 42 years, negotiating over 60 contracts to improve the benefits of industry talent. The James F. Sirmons Conference Room at their headquarters in New York City was named in his honor.
At his 50th anniversary at CBS in 1992 he was awarded a plaque with the bronze "S" that used to be mounted outside the old CBS building. He retired in 2000 as Executive Vice President of Industrial Relations, having worked there 58 years (longer than almost everyone else in the history of the network) with over 200 labor agreements to his credit.
In Dec 2017, his 100th birthday party was held in his home with a large gathering of family.
He was preceded in death by his granddaughter Alicia in 1987, his wife Virginia in 1993, his son Tom in 2014, and his son Jim in 2018.
He is survived by two children: Donna Sirmons and John Sirmons; two grandchildren, Christopher Sirmons Haviland and Shana Wynkoop; and three great grandchildren: Forest Sirmons Haviland, William "Sky" Haviland, and River Lane Haviland of McKinney, TX.
He was laid to rest at the Royal Palm Cemetery on 25 Apr 2018. Memorial services will be held at the Woodlawn Presbyterian Church at 2612 12th St N, St Petersburg, FL on 26 May 2018 at 11:00 am. See SirmonsFamily.net for more details.