The Rev. Dr. James Richard Memmott, 89, of Rumson, passed away on September 1, 2020 at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank. Born in Newark to the late Leonard Ridsdale Memmott and Mabel Stenquist Memmott, Jim was raised in Westfield and graduated from Nutley High School. Jim studied history at Rutgers – Newark, and, as his father's health declined, Jim stepped into his church pulpit. Called to a life of ministry and mission, he received his M. Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1954.
A lifelong advocate for social justice, he and the late Elizabeth Kennedy traveled to Austria in 1958 to support Hungarian refugees fleeing the Soviet Invasion. Installed as a young Senior Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Freehold in 1958, the charismatic leader led youth and couples groups, built the minister's manse and education building, and supported the town's racial reconciliation and urban renewal until 1970. His ministry continued through hospital administration, as Presbytery Executive in the synods of Portland, Oregon and Chicago, Illinois, and teaching and completing the Doctoral program in Education at Northern Illinois University, before returning to NJ to serve at several churches in the Monmouth Presbytery.
An intrepid musician with many creative accomplishments, Jim formed and led two men's quartets: the Parsons, at Princeton Seminary, and the Watchman as a retiree, singing tenor and arranging hundreds of sacred, contemporary, and classical songs in 4-part harmony. He was the organizer and captain of every football team and pitcher of every softball team, camp counselor, sign painter, community theater lead actor and director. But he often bragged his greatest accomplishment was teaching all four of his children to body surf by age 7.
He is met in heaven by his parents and his younger brother, William R Memmott of New Orleans, who passed away exactly one week earlier. Surviving is his beloved wife, Edythe M Memmott, his loving children, Joanna Nadeau and husband Chris, Jennifer Rosenberg and husband Steve, Karen Hooten and husband Stuart, and David J Memmott and wife Debbie; his 14 cherished grandchildren: Suheil, Victoria, Katrina, Nicole, and Caroline; Henry, Olivia and Margot; Dave, Chapin, Carson, Chase, Cooper, and Colton; his 10 greatgrandchildren; and his stepchildren: Brad and wife, Melody, and their children, Jocelyn and Michael; Kimberly and Christie. Heartfelt gratitude is offered from the entire family to his stepdaughter Christie, cherished for providing support and care in his last years.
An incredibly supportive father and devoted grandpa, he never missed a game, recital, graduation, wedding or baptism. He will be remembered for his abiding love of family, steadfast faith in Christ, indomitable spirit, great mind, thoughtful guidance, and grand sense of humor. He loved us well.
A visitation will be held at the John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank, New Jersey, 07701, on Friday, September 4th, 2020 from 3 to 6 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent in Jim’s memory to Family Promise of Monmouth County. Services are being postponed until a later date.
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