Durward and Janet Siville struggled through the Depression and learned about sacrifice and hard work. They also enjoyed a strong marriage, career success and good friends. Through their fund at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, the Sivilles demonstrated their gratitude for their life together by reaching out to help others in the Sun City Center community.
Mrs. Siville graduated from high school in Akron, Ohio and attended Akron University for more than two years until the Depression made it financially difficult for her to complete work on her degree. Because she wanted to help the family, she prepared herself for the business world by teaching herself business skills, including accounting.
Firestone Tire and Rubber Tire Company in Akron was her first employer, and she eventually became a supervisor in the Divisional Accounting Department.
When World War II broke out, Mrs. Siville moved to Cleveland to take a job with Thompson Aircraft because she wanted to be more involved in the defense effort. Later she was accepted into the American Red Cross and received training at American University in Washington, D.C. She was first assigned as a nurse's aid to Camp Pickett outside Richmond, Va.
Mr. Siville attended Ohio State University but left to take his first job with the Pennsylvania Salt Company in Wyandotte, MIch. He worked there for 15 years, eventually becoming a plant manager.
The couple married in 1949. In 1951, they returned to Akron to start a coffee vending machine business. They purchase a house which would serve as a home and a workplace.
This was a team effort. The Sivilles named their company WI-SI (combining her maiden name, Wilkinson, with Siville). They first placed coffee vending machines in rubber plants and factories in and around Akron. In time, they added soft drinks and food vending to their line. Ultimately, they sold the business to Automatic Canteen. "Durward made a success of this business venture as in everything he did," Mrs. Siville said after his death in 1996.
The couple were avid golfers and often took golfing vacations. In 1965, when they visited the brand new Sun City Center, they knew they had found their retirement home.
The people were friendly, and there were plenty of opportunities to play golf, Mrs. Siville recalled before her death in 2002. "We had many happy years together. We were perfectly matched. I feel so fortunate that we shared careers and our golfing hobby. We had a wonderful marriage."
In 1971 they became Florida residents and began volunteering in their burgeoning community. He was president of the Sun City Center Men's Golf Association and was Club Champion in 1971. She continued her service as a hospital volunteer, which she did for more than 40 years. "I've done volunteer work for as long as I can remember," she recalled. "I have always been so grateful for the many blessings in my life. This was a good way to share some of my happiness."
The Sivilles moved to Sun City Center when it was small with few amenities. Neighbors and friends volunteered, helped with projects and reached out to fellow residents who needed assistance. For the Sivilles and other early residents, this teamwork and caring were the heart of Sun City Center. The Sivilles knew that by giving of their time and resources, they had gained enduring friendships and a meaningful retirement.
In 1995 — to commemorate their 20th year in Sun City Center — the Sivilles made their first contribution to the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, hoping that their fund would provide a means of instilling in the lives of new residents the same spirit of caring they had experienced during their many years of retirement.
The Durward and Janet Siville Fund continues to improve the quality of life for the residents of the South Shore community and will do so for decades to come.