May 24, 2014

Synthetic turn pioneer Jim Siegle dies

— He was known as “The Grand Gentleman of Turf.”

Jim Siegle, a Cohutta resident who worked for AstroTurf in Dalton and spent 46 years in the synthetic turf business shaping the face of the modern sports arena, died Friday in Chattanooga.

He was 78.

Siegle graduated from Bradley University School of Engineering in Peoria, Ill. with a degree in civil engineering in 1959. He served his country from 1959 to 1962 as a civil engineer in the U.S. Air Force, achieving the rank of first lieutenant. He began his career at AstroTurf as a project engineer in 1968, designing and installing the first ever convertible turf system for the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.

Industry peers and co-workers considered Siegle a pioneer in the synthetic turf industry.

He and his family were lifetime members of the United Methodist Church. Siegle was also active in the community as a member of the Kiwanis Club and Rotary Club and participated in United Way fund raising campaigns.

A service of celebration is Tuesday at noon in the sanctuary of the Dalton First United Methodist Church of Dalton. The family will receive friends in the atrium from 10 a.m. until noon. Arrangements are by Julian Peeples Funeral Home.