Rev. H. James MeyersLancaster County pastor, successful baseball player

By on May 9, 2012

The Rev. H. James Meyers died in peace Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at Luther Acres Manor in Lititz.

He was born in Mt. Joy on Oct. 31, 1919 to Arthur and May (Schickley) Meyers and was the second of seven children (three brothers and three sisters).

Pastor Jim was a 1943 graduate of Findlay College, and in 1956 he received the master of divinity degree from Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary. His long and fruitful ministry included pastorates at the Church of God in Valley View, the First Church of God, Middletown, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Columbia and Trinity Lutheran Church in Somerset. Pastor Jim developed a strong sense of social justice during the civil rights movement of the 1960s and preached a gospel of love and justice for all people. He retired from the pulpit in 1992 but continued his ministry as a supply pastor to churches in the Somerset region until he preached his last sermon in 2008.

Jim was active in sports from his boyhood, excelling in baseball at an early age. He starred as a pitcher and outfielder for the Findlay College baseball team and pitched against Hall of Fame pitcher, Bob Feller, in a game at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, where Jim prevailed in a 1-0 victory. He came to the attention of professional baseball scouts and was offered a contract with the St. Louis Browns (now the Baltimore Orioles) in the last years of World War II, but he declined to turn pro, instead living out his call to the church.

In 1961 Jim took his family on the first of many odysseys to the national parks of the Western U.S. He loved camping and mountaineering, and his children are forever grateful for these extended family adventures in the West, which instilled in them a deep love of nature. Jim became an avid bicyclist during his time in Somerset, where he was active in the Rails to Trails movement. His grand adventure was a solo cross-country bicycle ride to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

In 2008 Jim and Mary moved back to Columbia from Somerset, where they lived at the Herr Estates until Jim’s recent move to Luther Acres. Ironically, while serving at St. John’s in Columbia, Pastor Jim sowed the seeds for establishing this retirement facility where Mary continues to live.

Jim and his wife, Mary Belle (Gable) were married for 68 years and raised four children: Jamie (Jim), Connie, Ann (deceased) and Cindy. Jim is survived by nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Luther Acres in Lititz on May 10 at 11 a.m. Burial will be at a later date at the Church of God Cemetery in Hegins.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to The Great Allegheny Passage Rail Trail – Allegheny Trail Alliance, P.O. Box 501, Latrobe, PA 15650 or atatrail.org/donate.cfm.

Arrangements were are being made by Auer Cremation Services of Pennsylvania Inc.

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