Words of Remembrance for Brother James Muffley, FSC
Given by Brother Martin Zewe, FSC
Mass of Christian Burial
La Salle Hall, Beltsville, Maryland
May 24, 2022
On behalf of the Christian Brothers, I express our condolences to Jim’s cousins, Catherine and Patrick, who are here with us today.
James Daniel Muffley was born on June 30, 1943, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He attended Allentown Central Catholic High School and often spoke fondly of his high school days and of his teachers while he was there. It was his music teacher who recommended he get in contact with the Christian Brothers when he mentioned to her that he was interested in joining a religious order that was involved in teaching. Luckily for us, he followed her advice.
I first met Jim, or Muff, as we have affectionally called him, when we arrived at Ammendale sixty-one years ago to start our novitiate year. I was immediately impressed by his deep baritone voice. However, as I got to know him, I was even more impressed over the past sixty-one years by his quiet, unassuming, humble manner, as well as his dry sense of humor and wit. He never sought to be the center of attention, but often was as he related his many stories about his students.
Over the years we also got to see his love for his family, as he often spoke about his parents and his sister. I remember when we were at West Catholic together, his father suffered a serious stroke. By that time his mother had already died. Every Friday after a busy week in school, Jim would leave after his last class and drive to Allentown to make sure his father was all right.
He would spend the weekend shopping for him, preparing meals for the week, and taking care of any other needs his father had. He would then return to West Catholic on Sunday evening and prepare his chemistry classes and labs for the week.
Those of us who knew him also knew that he had several passions in life. He had a passion for teaching chemistry and music, especially playing the organ. Over the years it is hard to remember a district gathering or celebration, for which Jim had not prepared the liturgy and music. The communities he was assigned to over the years, Central Catholic, West Catholic, and Bishop Walsh, also benefitted from his talents especially at Christmas and Easter liturgies. While in Pittsburgh, he also played the organ on Sundays for a local parish. However, I will admit that some of us, when we got the program for a liturgy Jim had prepared, would look at how many verses there were in each hymn. It was Jim’s firm position that the author of the hymn would not have written six, seven, or eight verses if he or she did not want all of them sung.
After a knee replacement, his surgery ended in a serious infection that never healed. Being on his legs, teaching and conducting labs all day, became too difficult. Jim did not completely retire but began helping and tutoring in Central Catholic’s McDowell program. (The McDowell is a program that helps students who are struggling academically.) Jim was especially helpful working with students in math and science. All during his last twenty years teaching and working in the McDowell program, although in constant pain, Jim never complained or ever mentioned the pain he was in, even as most of us saw how painful it had to be when he walked.
As Jim’s death began to be known around Central Catholic, almost every teacher who was there during his last assignment of almost twenty years stopped me to tell me of his/her sorrow at his passing and to comment on how much he meant to them.
However, I think that the comments of his former students get to the heart of Jim’s life. I am going to read one of the notes sent to Mrs. Lynch, who still runs the McDowell Program where Jim worked with her. He wrote, “I heard about Brother Muff’s death and was saddened about it. I remember Brother Muff as a helper, encourager, a concerned education professional and most of all, a Brother in the Lord’s church. I know that he helped me so much, and I appreciate all that he did for me for the four years that I attended Central. Without him, I would still be in the ninth grade! I loved Brother and thank God that I was able to meet him.” Another former student who works at Central stopped me the other day and said how sad he was in hearing of Jim’s death. He told me, “I can say that Brother Muffley was a good chemistry teacher, a caring person, and was always concerned about his students. But what impressed me when I had him in class and after, until he left Central, is that he was a good person. We do not meet many genuinely good people in life, but I was lucky enough to meet a truly good person.“ I think those last two comments sum up Jim’s life and the influence he had on his students.
I am sure that when Jim entered heaven last week, St. La Salle was there to greet him as one of his faithful followers who had touched the hearts of his students, and to assure him that he will shine like the stars for all eternity.
Jim, may your soul and the souls of all our departed Brothers, rest in peace.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Brother James Muffley, FSC
Born James Daniel Muffley, Jr. in Allentown PA on 30 June 1943
Entered the Ammendale MD Novitiate in 15 June 1961
Received the Religious Habit and Name James Malachy on 7 September 1961
Pronounced Perpetual Vows in Adamstown MD on 16 June 1968
Died at De La Salle Hall in Lincroft NJ on 14 May 2022
Tuesday, 24 May 2022
Brothers only, please.
Mass of Christian Burial – 11.00am
La Salle Hall
6001 Ammendale Road
Beltsville MD 20705
De La Salle Cemetery
6001 Ammendale Road
Beltsville MD 20705
Brother James died peacefully at De La Salle Hall after a few weeks in hospice care.
The District of Eastern North America remembers Brother James with memorial liturgies according to the tradition of the Institute. Through their prayers, communities and individuals entrust Brother James to God’s loving care.
May he rest in peace.
Elkins Park PA
La Salle College (scholasticate)
Central Catholic High School
West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys
Bishop Walsh High School
West Philadelphia Catholic High School
Central Catholic High School
La Salle Hall (resident)
De La Salle Hall (resident)
Bro. Jim was a gentle Brother who suffered quietly the last several years with his knee problem. I remember visiting him in Pittsburgh and in spite of his health issues, he was always very welcoming. May he rest in the loving arms of his Lord and God. Peace Bro. Jim now and forever.
I had Bro Muffley for 10th grade chemistry. He was so kind and patient with me, I love him. May he Rest in eternal Peace for ever and ever. Amen.
Brother Muffley taught me AP Chemistry. He allowed me to come into school early for additional instruction. Because of his instruction, I aced college chemistry and was able to secure a chem tech job + letters of rec from my professor. I ultimately chose to go into medicine. I am saddened to hear of his passing but know he left a strong legacy through his many students and colleagues. RIP
So many wonderful memories of this dedicated man. He taught my sons with patients, no-nonsense kindness, and a commitment to teaching, the brotherhood, and making good men, Always in our thoughts and prayers. Please guide us from above.
I have fond memories of seeing and talking to Brother James at the Pittsburgh opera. He was a kind, caring and gentle man.
Brother Muffley was a great man who sparked my interest in chemistry that eventually led to my PhD. I will always appreciate his quiet patience, the good laughs we shared during class, and great conversation when I came to visit during my time at Pitt. I will truly miss him. Thank you Brother Muffley.
Bro. James Muffley was my junior homeroom teacher, religion teacher and chemistry teacher during my junior year (1966-67) at Pittsburgh Central Catholic. A gentle, kind giant of a man. There is no way in hell I would have made it through Chemistry without his guidance and assistance. He would often walk around the classroom, glance down at my worksheet and say, “Mr. Pasquarelli, that’s not right, try it again.” He didn’t aid me on tests, but certainly helped me prepare for them. Hell, 50-plus years later, I still don’t know what a “mole” is in Chemistry. He essentially nursed me through that class. Thank you, Bro. James Muffley for your tutelage and friendship.
RIP Brother Muffley… thank you for your service to Central Catholic . You will never be forgotten and may you rest with Jesus , Family , Friends , and your fellow Brothers .
Br. Muffley taught my late husband, Andrew Gault, and both of my sons. What a wonderful man he was. His talents ranged from chemistry to music. I’ll never forget when he was the voice of the beast in Beauty and the Beast….magnificent. And the many evenings spent around our dining room table after dinner with you.You will always hold a special place in our hearts, Br. Muffley. May God bless you with eternal peace.
Br. Muffley taught me Chemistry. He went on to teach my son, and my nephew (twice each). I got my love of Chemistry from him. Although I was never a Chemist, I think like one, and continue to understand the world better because of this. As an alum, board member, etc., I would stop at his classes when I was in the building, and always remind them that they had the privilege of having the best Chemistry teacher in the world…and they did. It was a fact.
I started this before, but don’t think it went through.
Jim Muffley, besides being an excellent teacher, musician, and coordinator of music celebrations, was a kind and gentle human being. He was a friend and colleague for many years.
Mike McGrath ’67