Obituary Notice: Wilbur E. “Bud” Gilham

Obituary Notice: Wilbur E. “Bud” Gilham (Provided photo)

Wilbur E. “Bud” Gilham, 94, of Philipsburg died Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017 at his residence.

He was born Feb. 21, 1923 in Philipsburg, a son of Ezekiel and Sue (Kelly) Gilham, both of whom preceded him in death.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church and the B.P.O. Elks No. 1173, both of Philipsburg.

He was a 1941 graduate of the former Philipsburg High School. After high school, he served with the Army Air Corps as a master sergeant during World War II.

After his service in the army, he furthered his education and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and then his Master of Science degree from the Pennsylvania State University.

His career as an educator spanned over 35 years. He worked first as a teacher at Tyrone High School and then he spent most of his career with the Philipsburg–Osceola Area School District until his retirement.

While teaching 10th grade biology at Philipsburg-Osceola, he started a summer outdoor education program for high school students.  The program centered on conservation; it was a fieldtrip-oriented activity.  

Many top scientists and educators participated.  The program was so successful and ahead of its time, Penn State copied the program for the college level and the state of New Jersey adopted the premise for its state’s conservation curriculum.

He was the first teacher in Pennsylvania to be certified as a conservation educator.  Due to his conservation education work at the collegiate and high school levels, he was the first non-fish commission person to be given a permit to shock fish and do stream studies without fish commission oversight.

In 1962, he was chosen as the Outstanding Biology Educator for the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.  

He was also a retired member of the faculty at Penn State, where he was an adjunct professor of outdoor education and conservation.

He had a role as an educator outside the classroom, as well. He was well-received at numerous local and regional speaking engagements throughout his career that included outdoor education topics, such as: biology, wildlife, microclimates and outdoor survival. 

He and his wife, Lorraine, led the Junior and Senior High Youth Group at the First Baptist Church of Philipsburg for more than 20 years.  He also served on the varied boards of the church.

He was married Sept. 15, 1950 in Philipsburg to the former Lorraine Selby. She preceded him in death Aug. 15, 2017.

He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Trissie Schultz and Carrie Dobson and six brothers, George McClelland and Lou, Marlin, Ray, Bob and Casper Gilham, in addition to his parents.

He is survived by one son, Lynn A. Gilham and his wife, Mary K. Whitehead of Philipsburg; two grandchildren, Laura Gilham of Philipsburg and Kristopher Gilham and his wife, Krista of Reading; two great-granddaughters, Alexa and Hannah Gilham, both of Reading; and two sisters, Sarah Simcox of Philipsburg and Mary Scott of Lewisburg.

He was an avid golfer, outdoorsman, backpacker and small game hunter, and he was an accomplished wildlife photographer and woodcarver.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at the First Baptist Church, 214 E. Beaver St., Philipsburg, with the Rev. Ted Seibert officiating.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church, Memorial Fund, 214 E. Beaver St., Philipsburg, PA 16866.

Family and friends may sign the online guestbook and share memories at

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