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October 16, 2013
James A. Romberger, 91, formerly of Cressona, died Wednesday at the home of his daughter, Pat, in Hershey. Romberger served Blue Mountain High School as principal from 1961 until his retirement in 1985.
Born in Pitman, Jim graduated from Tri-Valley High School and studied agriculture at Penn State University until his voluntary enlistment in the Army during World War II. He served with distinction as a criminal investigator attached to General Patton's 3rd Army. He was present at the Normandy Invasion and the Ardennes, and in battles across Northern France and the Rhineland. He aided in the liberation of Buchenwald, and wrote letters home documenting the atrocities he observed. These letters are now part of the archives of The National Holocaust Museum.
Upon his honorable discharge from the service, Romberger graduated from Penn State University and taught agriculture at Cressona High School from 1946 to 1960.
He married Margaret Paul, New Cumberland, in August 1947. The couple had three children.
After acquiring a master's degree in school administration at Bucknell University, he was elected principal of the newly-formed Blue Mountain High School. He respected and appreciated everyone who worked diligently toward the success of the school — bus drivers, custodians, cooks and secretaries, as well as teachers and administrators. He was proud of the district's academic attainments including 30 Merit Scholars during his tenure, but also attentive to the needs of average students. He was willing to do anything that needed to be done: film a football game, spray the apple orchard or drive the cinder truck. He had a kind and encouraging word for everyone.
He served the community of Cressona as an active member of St. Mark's United Church of Christ and the Lions Club. As part of the Lions Club, in 2008 at the age of 86, he was principal planner and fund raiser for a $100,000 refurbishment of a Cressona playground. His fellow members nominated him as a Melvin Jones Fellow and presented him with the Lions Club International Humanitarian Award in 2008.
After retirement, he was a frequent speaker in the Marywood University/Scranton JCC Holocaust Education program. He also spent 10 years as a weekly Reading Buddy at Sylvan Heights Science Charter School in Harrisburg. He cared compassionately for his wife, Pegge, throughout her long illness.
He was the beloved father of a son, James, Pittsburgh, and daughters, Pat Peffley, Hershey, and Mary-Jo Cliff, Honesdale; and "Grandpa" to David Romberger, Susan (McKenna) and Mark Peffley, Andrew and Norah Cliff, his step-grandchildren, Anne Barley Givler, Liza Barley and Joseph Barley, and three great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Mark's UCC with Pastor Nathan Druckenmiller as officiant. Visitation be start at 10 a.m. Guests are encouraged to wear blue and white. Interment will be at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to BMHS Activities Fund, 1076 W. Market St. Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 memo James Romberger Scholarship. Please . Condolences and stories would also be appreciated by the family.
Published in Republican & Herald on Oct. 17, 2013