Thursday, January 10, 2013

From Brad Timberlake

James "Jim Silverlake" Timberlake (1943-2013)

James "Jim Silverlake" Timberlake, 69, Medora, passed away at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, at Hoosier Christian Village, Brownstown.
James was of the Methodist faith. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1963 to 1967. He retired after working as an elephant handler and trainer and a circus performer.
He was a graduate of Clearspring High School. He was owner of Lewis Brothers Circus, Barnes and Daily Circus and also traveled with many other circuses. During his last circus years, from 1989 to 1999, he worked with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus taking care of the elephant known as King Tusk.
Born on Nov. 26, 1943, in Brownstown, he was the son of Melvin and Josephine Fisher Timberlake, both of whom preceded him in death. On Sept. 8, 1967, in Lexington, S.C., he married Marlyn Hochstetler.
Survivors include two sons, A. Michael (Mitzi) Timberlake, Brownstown, and Bradley W. (Amy) Timberlake, Atlanta, Ga.; two brothers, Marcus Timberlake, Nashville, and Melvin Timberlake Jr., Kingman, Kan.; one sister, Myrna Ratcliff, Medora; and two grandchildren, Zachary Timberlake and Meagan Timberlake.
A memorial service will be conducted at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mount Zion United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the International Elephant Foundation, theNational Kidney Foundation or Mount Zion United Methodist Church.
Arrangements were handled by Spurgeon Funeral Home Inc., Brownstown.


Buckles said...

I first trouped with the Silverlakes in 1949 with Big Bob Stevens' Robbins Bros. Circus. I was a high-steppin candy butcher.
The entire family was there. Franklin was my buddy being about the same age.

Harry Kingston said...

When I first met the Silverlakes they were all on Fisher Bros Circus.
They were great to us fans and played all around my area in South East Texas.
They gave the locals a good performance and it was all circus.
They played Saratoga, Texas the home of the big thicket and was sponsored by them. Some towners were mad about land the big thicket got and took it out on the circus by picketing.
Mel always wanted to be a cowboy and dressed the part and had his 16mm cowboy films in his trailer.
You knew the show was in town as they billed it like a big show.
Bob Greene played the calliope.
The Silverlakes were with it and for it.
Jimmy brought King Tusk to Beaumont, Tx and stoped in front of my house and unloaded him and we made the front page in color of the local newspaper and all 3 tv stations.
Thanks for the memories great friend.
Harry in Texas

Buckles said...

Parley and Ernie Baer visited me on the Ringling Show in 1994 while we were playing Anaheim and invited me to their home in Tarzana for dinner on our off day.
While chatting in the elephant tent I introduced them to Jimmy and they hit it off so well he was immediately included in the invitation.
What an event that turned out to be, if only the mud show and movie stories had been recorded.
Great memories!

Harry Kingston said...

You are right on the memories should have been recorded.
At D. R. Millers funerial at the get together after it, there was a man that said he was going to write a book about D. R.
I told him hell you are 20 years too late.
A book has never been written.
And all those tobacco chewing tales are gone with the wind.
Harry in Texas

John Lewis said...

Jim and I were partners in the first Lewis show I came out with. We worked on it in the valley during the winter, and it came a big freeze and snow. Bobby Gibbs had told me it very got cold in the valley, and there were ice cycles hanging off the palm tress and electric wires. Gibbs headed north with "Punk" and elephant I purchased from the Maddens. Jim stopped over at Dory Millers C&B winter quarters with the elephant until the weather broke, and she stepped on D.R.'s foot and broke it.

We arrived in Medora, had different views and ideas for the show. I rented him my half, and he took the show out. It was small, a 60' top. I went back to the Hoxie show.

A couple of years later, we sold the show to Parley Baer and John Strong.

Jim was around the Hoxie show from then on, until he started with the Ringling Show. We were friends for around 45 years. He will be missed.
John Lewis


Say hello to Bobby my friend when you see on that BIG LOT ! You 2 were always the best of friends .


Jimmy Silverlake was a geat showman, geat animal man and all around geat American, as well as being a good friend of mine for decades. He was the superitendent of the Hoxie show when I arrived as a green 17 year old to make my leap from groom to Trainer and break my first cage act, all mother raised lions from a safari park. On the First of May {1976) that year he had the band
(yes we had live music back then) play "Happy Birthday" and the ringmaster announce it was my "birthday" which we all got a big chuckle out of. Jimmmy was "with it and for it" as we used to say and no one worked harder for the success of of a show whether it was his own show or the giant Feld Ent. projects he was in charge of. I trouped with him several more times and had remained friends over the years. I guess the good Lord needed a good supt. up there. Rest well old friend. GOD BLESS AMERICA. MIKE CECERE