James F. Smurl

Obituary
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James F. Smurl, 72, of 421 Leagate Hill Road, Charlemont, Mass., died Saturday in Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Greenfield, Mass.

Born in Plains Township on Aug. 20, 1934, he was the son of the late James J. Smurl and Rita Gildea Smurl of Plains Township.

He was a graduate of Sacred Heart High School, Plains Township, Class of 1951 and a graduate of The Gregorian University in Rome in 1959 with a S.T.L.

He was a graduate of Catholic University, Washington DC in 1963 with a S.T.D.

James was ordained a Catholic Priest in Rome in 1958.

He was an assistant pastor in Scranton from 1959-1967, during which time he was director of Pre-Cana Program from 1964-1966 and Editor of the Scranton Diocese Newspaper from 1963-1967.

As an educator, James taught religion at Marywood University from 1959-1961.

He also taught Moral Theology at Scranton Seminary from 1963- 1967.

He taught in Humanities and Religious Studies Programs at Oklahoma State University from 1968-1973.

He also chaired the Humanities Program.

James was also a librarian at Drew University in Madison, N.J. in 1967.

In 1963, James met Mary Hennigan Sherman.

In 1967, they were married.

The following year James adopted Mary's three children.

In 1973 James became the first chair of Religious Studies at Indiana University.

He was also an Associate Professor of Medical Genetics.

These were positions that he held until his retirement in 1998.

Surviving in addition to his mother, is his wife of 40 years, Mary Smurl, Charlemont, Mass.; sons, Peter Cao of Chengdu, Peoples Republic of China; Paul Smurl, New York City; two daughters, Linda A. Castronovo, Hadley, Mass.; Elizabeth Castronovo, Minneapolis, MN.

He is also survived by five grandchildren, three nieces.

A brother, William J. Smurl preceded him in death in 1988.

A celebration of life service will be held Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home in Shelburne Falls, Mass.

Memorial contributions, if desired, may be made to Sisters of Mercy c/o College Misericordia, Dallas, PA or Sacred Heart Church, Plains Township, PA.

Arrangements are by Corcoran Funeral Home, Plains Township.
Published in Citizens' Voice on May 29, 2007