James B. Easton, well-known sports figure and former Bethlehem school director died this morning at St. Luke's Hospital. He was 85 and lived at 1335 Easton Ave.
Only last month, he promoted and managed the Harlem Globe-Trotter's game which was held in Liberty High School, a promotion he back for nearly 20 years.
Mr. Easton was best known in local sports for his interest in soccer. A native of Ayrshire, Scotland, where soccer is a main event, he became a professional player as a teenager.
After coming to the United States at the age of 17, he played professional soccer in St. Louis, Mo. The team was scheduled to play Bethlehem Steel's team in 1916 which "Jimmy" was asked to join after he scored two of the goals in the 3-2 win which snapped the city team's winning streak of 38 games.
It was then that Easton become one of the first professional athletes ever to change teams. From February of 1916 to 1928, he played for the steel soccer team and was manager from 1925 to 1928.
After the team disbanded, he founded the Lehigh Valley Soccer League which lasted seven years until 1940.
Jimmy Easton retired from his job at Bethlehem Steel Corp. in 1958. He started in the No. 2 machine shop and rose to safety supervisor of the service division of the plant, holding several citations for work in that field.
He was on the Bethlehem School Board for 18 years and for three years as its president. He was chairman of the building committee and represented the board in overseeing construction of Northeast Junior High School, Lincoln, Governor Wolf, Clearview, Spring Garden and the vocational schools as well as Memorial Gymnasium at Liberty High School.
A member of the City Recreation Committee he was a director of the American National Red Cross and chairman of the first aid committee of the Bethlehem Chapter.
Fraternally, he was am ember of M. Stanley Goodwin Lodge 320, F&AM; Tall Cedars of Lebanon, Forest 61; Bethlehem Shrine Club; the Lehigh Valley Club and the Rajah Temple of Reading. He was also a member of the Order of Scottish Clans and of Clan McIntosh.
Mr. Easton was the husband of Frances Ahrens Easton, who died in 1948. He was the son of the late William and Susan McGill Easton.
He was an active member of Wesley United Methodist Church.
Surviving are a brother, Craig E. of Anover, Mass., a sister, Mrs. Susan McAllister of London, England, and several nieces and nephews.
Services will be held Monday at 1 p.m. at the Wallace M. Long Funeral Home, 500 Linden St., with the Rev. Colin T. Gorman officiating. Burial will be in Memorial Park.