S. James Schmittle, Sr., 88, of Erie, passed away Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018, at Sarah Reed Retirement Center. He was born in Johnstown, Pa., on August 31, 1929, son of the late Sherrill Wellington and Edith Caldwell Schmittle.
A graduate of Strong Vincent High School, Allegheny College, and Garrett Theological Seminary, Rev. Schmittle served as pastor of Kingsley Church in Erie, Grace UMC in Albion, Grace UMC in Warren, as well as Methodist congregations in Corry, Edinboro and McKean. Jim was proud of his active voice, particularly for civil rights, and marched in Selma, Alabama in 1965. He was also proud of his role in helping Albion recover from the tornado of 1985.
Jim and his wife Louise were the hosts for the Methodist House at the Chautauqua Institution, where he also served as the chaplain in the early 1990s.
Jim was a member of Oasis Lodge #416 in Edinboro, 32nd degree Valley of Erie Scottish Rite, York Rite Bodies Temple Royal Arch Chapter #215, Jerusalem Council #33, and Mt. Olivet Commandery #30 Knights Templar. He was appointed in 1996 as Grand Chaplain for the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and was the recipient of the Legion of Honor of the Order of DeMolay. Jim was a member of the Order of St. Luke and regularly participated in Erie's Inter-Church Ministries and the Jefferson Society. He loved to read, learn, follow politics and travel, particularly to Bali.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Louise Dias Schmittle, who passed away in 2007.
Survivors include his three children, S. James Schmittle, Jr. (Deborah) of Williamsburg, Va., J. Mark Schmittle (Lori) of Landenberg, Pa., and Beth Sweeney (Tom) of Cleveland, Ohio; foster son Maitham Basha-Agha of Erie; sister Deby (Ken) Seaman of California; and grandchildren Dylan, Cate, Lauren, Lindsay, Matthew, Thomas and Connor.
A Memorial Service to honor Jim will be held at Kingsley United Methodist Church at a date to be announced. Arrangements are being handled by the Dusckas Funeral Home, Inc., 2607 Buffalo Rd. Memorial contributions may be designated to Kingsley United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 913 Cranberry St., Erie, PA 16502.