After Jim’s retirement from his career as a nuclear analyst, he and his wife, Susan returned to his childhood hometown Lowell, Massachusetts. They were warmly welcomed by his large extended family and the childhood friends he treasured all his life. Jim and Susan were gratified to find Lowell thriving, with a strong commitment to the arts and diversity. He and Susan moved into the Western Avenue Community for the Arts. At Western Avenue artist lofts, they found happiness living among interesting and creative people.
Though Jim’s career was based in the Washington, DC area and took him around the world, Lowell was always his home. As a young man, along with his brother Jack, Mike Mangan, John Bukala, and Kevin Murphy, he drove a truck for the Lowell Sun. While taking a sabbatical from his education, he tended bar in several Lowell dives. Jim was a 1969 graduate of Keith Academy. He was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Lowell, and in 1984 received a PhD in experimental nuclear physics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Jim and Susan were blessed with 40 years together. They are the parents of Katherine E. Silk, an artist, and John J. Silk, a nuclear physicist. Jim was proud of his children and loved his family dearly.