James R. “Jim” Priester, 84, of East Smithfield, passed away Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 surrounded by his family.

He was born on March 21, 1936 in Rimersburg, (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 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 at the Lowery-Urban Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 225 South Main Street, Athens. 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.

For those wishing to send flowers, send condolences, or sign the E-guestbook, may do so by visiting www.loweryfuneralhome.com.

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