It is with a heavy heart that we received the news from Dale Pliscott and Butch Clay that Jim Priester passed away on October 23, 2020 at the age of 84. Jim had been suffering with respiratory and cardiac problems through the years, and his wish was not to pass on in a hospital. and his wish was granted and was home with his lifelong best friend, wife and soulmate, Linda and family. Linda sent out some Memorial Cards to the beaglers, which is how we received the news.
Jim ran his beagles under the Kennel Name Checkmate Beagles. He was a force to reckon with and then went on to handling males. You really didn't need to hire any judges if Jim was there, as he let you know what they were doing. He had an uncanny wit and the gift of making you laugh and was very entertaining. We all have many special memories with Jim. He always supported New York State, New York State Championship, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New England at license trials, not only brace, but small pack, sanction trials, federations, judged over 200 trials, and helped out in any way he could; whether it was doing the kitchen, making desserts, (was famous for his moon pies), President, Field Trial Secretary, marshaling, beating brush, fellow member, etc. He did the kitchen at both of his home clubs; and as we know, Wyoming Valley took on the Northeastern a few years ago and Jim pitched right in and did the kitchen. It seemed many animals were dropped off in Smithfield, NY, and he gave them a home and took care of them. Jim donated a lot of time, knowledge and help to his fellow clubs. Once you met Jim, you didn't forget him and there are so many precious memories and stories through the years. He definitely made an impact to our sport and was missed when he could no longer support us the way he wanted to. When thinking of Jim it seems he lived the "Be the reason someone feels welcomed, seen, heard, valued, loved and supported". Another is Two things you are in total control of in life are your Attitude and your Effort. Jim we truly thank you for all you gave, taught and showed so many of us, your dedication, devotion and support to our sport and animals in general. You weren't only a teacher and principal in your career; but you gave all that not only to your students, but admirers, friends and family through the years. You showed many of us by your methods of Instruct, Encourage, Praise, Influence, Share, Guide, Inspire and we can't thank you enough for your guidance. As they say, the best Teachers teach from the Heart not from the Book. Rest in Peace My Friend and give everyone a hug for us at that Meeting in the Sky and Continue to watch over us and give us that "Slap Side the Head" if we need it. Thank You Again and our Thoughts and Prayers are with your family and friends.
March 21, 1936 - October 23, 2020
James R. “Jim” Priester, 84, of East Smithfield, Pa. passed away Friday, October 23, 2020 surrounded by his family.
He was born on March 21, 1936 in Rimersburg, Pa. (Clarion County), to Lawrence and Nancy Jane (Reese) Priester.
Jim grew up in Rimersburg, graduated from Union High School in 1954 and enrolled at Clarion University, graduating in 1958 with a Teaching Degree.
He taught for three years at Penn Hills School District and then was hired by S.R.U. High School and taught there until 1981. In 1981, he became Athletic Director for Athens Area School District. From 1983 until 1990, he served as an Elementary Principal and Coordinator of Federal Programs. In 1990, he became the Director of Curriculum for Athens Area School District, retiring in 1993.
Shortly after retirement, Jim was appointed to the Athens Area School Board, retiring in 2014 with 21 years of service. During this time, Jim was also an Adjunct Instructor for seven years at Lackawanna College.
Jim also spent many years enjoying his hobby of competing in Beagle field trials as a professional handler and judge. During his lifetime, he had the pleasure of overseeing hundreds of beagles to their championship and of judging over 200 trials.
He is predeceased by his parents, three brothers, and three sisters.
Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years; Linda, two sons; Shawn Priester and Kurt Priester, both teachers for Athens Area Schools, daughter-in-law; Elizabeth, and four amazing grandchildren; Haley, Jarett, Braden, and Avery.
Friends and family may call on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Lowery-Urban Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 225 South Main Street, Athens, PA. Funeral Services will follow at the funeral home at 7 p.m. with Chaplain Gary Stedge officiating. Current CDC guidelines and precautions will be followed for both visitations and funeral service.
Memorial donations may be made in Jim’s memory to the Animal Care Sanctuary, 353 Sanctuary Hill Road, Milan, PA 18831 or Bradford County Humane Society, Rt-220, Ulster, PA 18831.