One of the dwindling number of World War II veterans was just lost. Herman Stratton
Killam (always known as “Stratt”) passed away peacefully at his home in Sandy Creek at
the age of 97. He was born on December 28, 1920 in Sandy Creek, New York, son of
Hugh and Barbara (Bemis) Killam. He graduated from the Sandy Creek High School in
After Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the army and was a member of the famous Third Infantry
Division, serving oversees in the African, Sicilian and Italian campaigns. He received his
honorable discharge on December 1, 1944. He was delighted to be a part of the April 2015
Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
After the war, he came back to Sandy Creek and wed Beatrice Ellis. They were married
59 years before her death in 2004.
Like his father and grandfather, he was a mechanic. He worked as the service manager
at Ruder Buick Pontiac in Pulaski and then as the service manager at Syracuse Truck
Sales until his retirement in 1985. During his tenure at Syracuse Truck Sales, he traveled
throughout Central New York and the Southern Tier repairing huge Oshkosh and Diamond
Rio snow plows.
He was a member of the Sandy Creek Volunteer Fire Department and its one-time chief.
He was a long-time, extremely active member of the Sandy Creek United Methodist Church
serving for many years on its Board of Trustees. Because of his mechanical abilities, he
also spent a great number of hours volunteering on numerous church maintenance
projects, keeping, for example, the ancient boiler working well past its normal life. He
always worked with his brother, Jack, two years his junior, on these tasks. They came to
be known as the “Killam Boys”.
He was a lifetime photographer even getting a digital SLR at the age of 92. More than
anything else, however, he enjoyed cars, whether they be old or new. He worked with his
uncle to restore automobiles from the early 1900s. Together, they worked to turn them
from junk into near concours quality.
Mr. Killam was survived by his two daughters, Suzanne (Thomas) Pfister, Sandy Creek and
Kandice Killam Champouillon, Cicero, along with one grandson, Alex Jon Champouillon,
also of Cicero. Mr. Killam was in a family of four boys, two of whom have survive him: Jack
Killam, Sandy Creek, and Charley Killam, Auburn. He is also survived by a number of
nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
Mr. Killam was blessed with a long, full life. “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it
Calling hours are 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 29th, at the Summerville Funeral
Home in Sandy Creek. The funeral will be held at the Sandy Creek United Methodist
Church at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 30th. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in
Mr. Killam’s memory to the Sandy Creek United Methodist Church.