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James Talley, pastor, supporter of Methodist shrine, dies at 76

James Talley, area pastor, supporter of Methodist shrine, dies at 76.

The Rev. James Talley, a pastor and businessman recalled as a tireless supporter of the Strawbridge Shrine in New Windsor, Carroll County, died Saturday after suffering a heart attack outside his New Windsor home. He was 76.

Born in Cincinnati, he was the son of the Rev. James H. Talley and Marie Cornelius Talley.

Mr. Talley earned a degree in political science/history from the University of Maryland, College Park. He also held a law degree from the University of Baltimore and a master's degree inf divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary,

He began his career in real estate. According to Robert Shindle, director of the United Methodist Historical Society of the Baltimore-Washington Conference and vice president of the Strawbridge Shrine Association, Mr. Talley began working for the conference in the 1970s.

He became involved in efforts to purchase and preserve the Strawbridge property, a task that was accomplished in 1973. The shrine honors Robert Strawbridge, who came to America in the 1760s and is considered the first preacher of Methodism in this country. His home was the site where the Strawbridge Shrine is now.

Mr. Talley remained engaged with the Strawbridge Shrine after he stopped working for the conference in 1978. He helped expand the shrine property, including construction of a curator's home and a replica of the original meeting house.

Dan Hartzler, a member of the Strawbridge Shrine board and a friend of Mr. Talley's, recalled a hands-on approach in those projects.

"He probably did more work on the curator's house than anybody else," Mr. Hartzler said. "He not only was our leader, but he was able physically to do an awful lot of work around there — from moving stones to getting prices on a project we were working on, he led us in so many ways."

In the early 1990s, Mr. Talley attended seminary, was ordained and became the pastor at Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Finksburg, where he served for seven years.

He served an additional seven years at churches in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties before retiring and purchasing a home on Wirt Road, not far from Strawbridge Shrine.

Marian Goettee, tour coordinator at the shrine, recalled that Mr. Talley would take advantage of his proximity to the shrine property to tend to it even in his retirement. She could always count on him, she said, to help out in leading an extra-large tour group and to keep up with smaller details as well.

"He was very conscious of what was going on there and was very conscientious about keeping the grounds in good condition," Ms. Goettee said. "It was a very calming spot, and he just felt like it was hallowed ground. It was just a favorite part of his world."

One of the last events of 2016 held at the Strawbridge Shrine was an Advent celebration, according to Mr. Shindle.

Mr. Hartzler said he and Mr. Talley were both members of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in New Windsor, where Mr. Talley had served as chairman of the board of trustees until Mr. Hartzler took over in 2016.

A funeral service for Mr. Talley will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 200 Main St., New Windsor.

He is survived by wife Kimberly Ann Talley; daughters Kimberly Lynn Smith of Myrtle Beach, S.C., Jamie Diana Windell of Sykesville and Jennifer Ann Gallagher of Irvine, Calif.; stepdaughter Kari Greenwalt of Gettysburg, Pa.; brother Joie Talley of Florida; and numerous grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

— Jon Kelvey, Baltimore Sun Media Group

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