JAMES A. "REDS" NILAN, JR. STATE POLICE, RETIRED CAPTAIN
Jim, age 79, of Wilmington, DE passed away peacefully, after a short illness, on April 1, 2017 in the presence of his loving family. Jim was affectionately known to many by “Reds” or “Dr. Nilan”.
Reds was born in Wilmington, DE on May 7, 1937. He graduated from St. Patrick’s Elementary School and then graduated from Kennett High School in Kennett Square, PA in 1955. He worked at Electric Hose and Rubber Co. from 1955 to 1965. On April 1, 1965, he became a member of the Delaware State Police as a trooper. During his career, he was stationed at Troop 2A, Kirkwood Highway; Troop 1, Penny Hill; Troop 9, Odessa in the Special Investigations Unit; and Headquarters, Dover, where he was in charge of the Detective Licensing Unit. He rose through the ranks and retired on April 1, 1985 as a Captain. Following his retirement, he worked in the Security Division with Brooks Armored Car Service, later known as AT Systems as an investigator and then went on to work for Brooks Courier Service as an investigator until his time of death.
As his pastimes, he especially enjoyed watching the old Western and World War II movies and also spending time at his beach home in Rehoboth, Delaware with his family and friends and sitting on his porch.
He enjoyed playing Solitaire on his computer. You would never find Reds without a phone. It was the instrument of his connectivity to his network of his many friends and associates.
To many, he was the go-to person as an organizer for events and parties.
He was a chartered member of the Delaware State Troopers Association and also a lifetime member of the Retired Association of the Delaware State Police.
He was an avid sports enthusiast. He cherished his beloved Philadelphia Eagles and Notre Dame Football. He was a 50 year season ticket holder for the Eagles and made many trips to follow Notre Dame Football.
He always enjoyed watching his sons and grandchildren play sports.
He liked eating out at different restaurants and he thought that eating corn on the cob was a competition. Eating steamed crabs were his passion.
He loved spending holiday dinners with his extended family with meals prepared by his lovely wife. He took great pride in growing his own tomatoes and showing them off.
He was a long-time parish member of the St. Helena Catholic Church in Wilmington.
Reds was predeceased in death by his son, Frank and his parents, Miriam and James A. Nilan, Sr. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn of 61 years, his son, James and grandsons, Colin (Whitney) and David; his brothers, Thomas of Newark, DE; David of Kennett Square; his sister, Patricia Konitzer of Kennett Square; and brother-in-law, Al Mackie (Nancy). He also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and a special friend, Sharon Butterworth.
Viewing will be held at St. Helena’s Church, 602 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, DE on Sunday evening, April 9, 2017, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, April 10, 2017, at St. Helena’s Church, at 10:00 am. Entombment following at Silverbrook Cemetery, 3300 Lancaster Pike, Wilmington, DE, with full Delaware State Police Honors.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Reds (James Nilan) may be sent to the Delaware State Police Museum, P. O. Box 430, Dover, DE 19901; St. Helena’s Church, 602 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, DE 19809; or Heartland Hospice, 256 Chapman Rd, Newark, DE 19702-5417. To send online condolences, visit www.mccreryandharra.com.