Fr. James Reymann, one of two priests in the Charles and Salome Reymann family, lived his entire life in Northeast Ohio. In 1976, the Cleveland Diocese assigned him as pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Wellington, Ohio. He remained in the village until his death on June 11, 2022 at the age of 98 years old. Although Fr. Reymann was very accomplished in the world of academia prior to this assignment, it was his deep involvement in the Wellington community that brought him his greatest joy. Fr. Reymann was held in high esteem by his family, parishioners, civic leaders, village residents and colleagues.
Hans Schneider, Mayor of Wellington, considers Fr. Reymann as one of the top five influential leaders in Wellington, and one of the most beloved persons in the area. “He brought people together”, states Hans. One of Fr. Jim’s earlier initiatives was to create an ecumenical council with one purpose: to unify the denominations in Wellington, thus encouraging bonds across faiths. “Fr. Reymann’s stubbornness and boldness became an asset; he was a clear-thinking visionary” Hans continues, when speaking about Father’s zest in championing projects to enhance the historic village. Key among these efforts was the building of a new church for St. Patrick’s parish, construction of a train underpass in the downtown area, and building a facility for low-income housing. And as commonly noted in Wellington, St. Patrick Church will always be known as ‘Fr. Jim’s Church’.
But physical structures were secondary to Fr. Reymann’s greatest mission, which was shepherding his people in a loving way. “He impacted people every day”, says Hans, “so greatly that the impact still resonates with Wellington residents today. He made everyone feel welcome, even visitors while in town. He is here in spirit, and we can all feel it. It is well known that Fr. Jim loved Wellington, its people and his church. We are his family, and this is his home.” Even in death, Fr. Reymann remains in Wellington, reposed in Greenwood Cemetery.
Known as an upstanding man of character and a man of faith, Fr. Reymann believed in always doing things right, regardless of the difficulty. His love for God, people, and his family, clearly guided this courageous priest as he made significant contributions to his community. Adds Hans, “The priesthood was a calling for Fr. Jim, but I believe Wellington was also a calling for this man.”
In tribute to this incredible leader, priest, uncle and friend, the Reymann Foundation will recognize the person, persons or organization that has made significant progress in improving the lives of the developmentally disabled community in Northeast Ohio, or has contributed significantly to their community through civic activism and brotherly love. The recipient must demonstrate values and actions that are in keeping with the core values and mission of the Reymann Foundation.
The Charles and Salome Reymann Foundation looks forward to honoring those among us who are truly making a difference every day.