Vernon — James Luther Streit, born February 3, 1933 in Wilbarger County, Texas to Earnest Paul and Olivia Hermione Streit, passed away peacefully at the Crowell Nursing Center, Crowell, Texas on September 14, 2017.
Services will be Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Vernon with Rev. Gib Baskerville and Dr. Derrell Monday officiating. Interment will be held at Wilbarger Memorial Park under the direction of Sullivan Funeral Home.
James was a farmer, a classical violinist, an inventor, a magician and a master teacher. He grew up on the family farm which was established in 1888 by his grandfather, Fred Streit. He loved farming and was out checking the cotton as recently as two weeks ago. His degree from Midwestern University was in music, violin performance. Midwestern was where he met his wife, Patricia Ann Morgan. They were married on December 28, 1953.’
He served in the Fourth Army Band, performed as a member of the Wichita Falls Symphony, and spent much of his life teaching band in Lockett, Crowell, Quanah and Vernon. His band in Crowell was recognized as the most outstanding in the entire state of Texas - the Class A Texas Honor Band of 1976. In 2001, he was inducted to the Phi Beta Mu Texas Bandmaster Hall of Fame. Mr. Streit was loved and respected by hundreds of students over his career. After he retired from the band world, he taught violin to the young and the old. They would travel to the farm for lessons and often go out in small groups to perform.
James was truly innovative - in addition to inventing and holding patents for useful tools and musical equipment, he developed an interest in magic and incorporated it into marching band shows and concert band performances. His grandchildren were sure he could really do magic. For many years, anyone who came out to the farm in December to see his Christmas display would agree with the grandchildren - he could do magic.
As a devoted member of First Baptist Church Vernon since 1956, he performed on his violin, sang in the choir, was a deacon and director of the Adult IV Sunday School Department. He directed church choirs in Crowell and Quanah and was a member of the Gideons for many years.
James was a member of the Vernon Musicians Club, Rotary International, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Phi Beta Mu International, Texas Retired Teachers Association, and served on the Board of Trustees for Vernon College. He was recognized as a Midwestern University Distinguished Alumni, named as Wilbarger County Soil and Water Conservation District Outstanding Conservation Farmer of the Year, graced the cover and was featured in a story in Texas Farmer-Stockman magazine and honored as the Doan’s Crossing Picnic Man of the Year.
Most importantly, he was son, brother, cousin, husband, uncle, father, grandfather and great- grandfather. He treasured his family as much as they treasured him. He was preceded in death by his parents, EP and Olivia Streit and his sister, Rose Marie Clynch and infant daughter Sharon Streit.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia of Vernon; children Babs Streit of Houston, Julie Nickoloff and husband Skip of Hendersonville, TN, Scott Streit and wife Patrice of Horseshoe Bay, TX; grandchildren Jonathan Streit and wife Megan of Oceanside, CA, Emily Nickoloff and fiancee Jeremy Byble of Philadelphia, Christian Streit and wife Ali of Kaneohe, HI, Lauren Nickoloff of New York, NY; and great-grandson Sutton James Streit.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Wilbarger General Home Health for several years of attentive care, Hospice of Wichita Falls for such compassionate care, and the Crowell Nursing Center which was very much like being home. Even more than these special folks, the family is forever indebted to Shelly Limon for her constant attention to the wellbeing of the extended Streit family, from EP and Olivia to Sutton.Visitation will be Monday September 18, 2017 at 6 to 7 p.m. at Sullivan Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Hospice of Wichita Falls (940-691-0982, howf.org, 4090 Johnson Road, Wichita Falls, TX 76310) or First Baptist Church of Vernon Music or Ministry.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.sullivanfuneralhomevernon.com.