Cover photo for Dr. James Emmanuel Schirber's Obituary
Dr. James Emmanuel Schirber Profile Photo
1931 Dr. James 2019

Dr. James Emmanuel Schirber

June 9, 1931 — April 28, 2019

Dr. James Emmanuel Schirber, 87, of Bozeman, passed away April 28, 2019. Jim lived to run and ran to live. Along with hunting and his Catholic faith, running remained a passion throughout his life. He ran all the way up to his last day.

Jim was born on June 9, 1931, in Eureka, SD. He was the eldest son of Leo Edward and Adeline (Fauch) Schirber. After graduating from Mobridge High School in 1949, he went to St. John’s University in Minnesota, where he was a track star on his way to getting his BS in 1953. As an Air Force 1st Lieutenant, he trained in meteorology at MIT in 1954. He later returned to Mobridge, SD, to marry Catherine Nolan on August 22, 1955. With Cathy by his side, he earned his PhD in physics at Iowa State University in 1960.

In 1962, he and Cathy moved to Albuquerque, NM, where Jim worked for 33 years as a research scientist at Sandia National Labs. He was an expert in low-temperature, high-pressure experiments, working on cutting-edge topics such as buckyballs and high-temperature superconductors.

When he retired in 1996, Jim and Cathy settled in the Black Hills, SD. On the dirt roads around their house, he trained for several Senior Olympics, and won his share of track medals. In 2015, Jim and Cathy moved to Bozeman, MT, to be next to their daughter Mary Jane and her husband Jeff.

He will be remembered as a caring husband, father and grandfather.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents Leo and Adeline, and sisters Bibi and Mary Jo. He is survived by his wife Cathy; his children and their spouses Carol and Gwynn Lyell of Newark, DE; Leo of Simi Valley, CA; Peter and Cornelia of Houston, TX; Andrew and Laurie of Barrington, RI; Mary Jane and Jeff Rolquin of Bozeman, MT; Michael and Astrid of Lyon, France; Mark of Olympia, WA; his sisters and their spouses Virginia Miller of Hopkins, MN, and Mattie and Bob Sieler of Rapid City, SD; and 14 grandchildren.

A Rosary will be held at 10:00 am with a Funeral Mass at 11:00 am Saturday at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, immediately followed by internment at Sunset Hills Cemetery, Bozeman, MT.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. James Emmanuel Schirber, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Starts at 10:00 am (Mountain (no DST) time)

St. John Vianney Catholic Church

609 North Quaw Boulevard, Belgrade, MT 59714

Rosary at 10:00 am with a Funeral Mass at 11:00 am, immediately followed by internment at Sunset Hills Cemetery.

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