Jim Mettler '66 (1944-2021)


Jim Mettler of Suffern, NY passed away on August 13, 2021 with his family by his side. He was born in Nyack, NY on March 2, 1944 to Thomas and Jane Mettler. He was a proud graduate of Princeton University (Class of 1966) and went on to have a successful career in Legal sales. Jim’s heart and soul belonged to Huletts Landing, NY, in his beloved cabin on Lake George, where he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

Jim is survived by his wife Ellie Mettler, daughters Samantha Kowalczyk (Jeff), Marlo McPartland, Mindy Spiegel, Lauren Johnson, Lisa Lancia and Lynda Babaian (Greg). He is also survived by his cherished grandchildren Corey, Jesse, Aidan, Leighann, Emma, Emily, Alexa, Gabriella, John, Meaghan, Joseph, Cole and Tyler. He is also survived by his brother-in-law, Mike Growney, son-in-law, Alex Machado and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, step-mother Betty Mettler, siblings Tommy Mettler and Betsy Growney, and daughter Mikki Machado.


Our CLASS OF 1966 notes that "Jim followed his father, Tom Mettler ’33, to both Andover and Princeton. At both institutions he was outstanding in soccer and track. At Princeton Jim waited tables in Commons, joined Charter Club, majored in politics, and performed in the musical Showboat. Roommates included Dan Carmichael, Pete Cary, Tom Gilbert, Bob Heinze, Tom Mineo, Ross Odell, Terry Seymour, George Weiksner, and Gary Wilmore.


After Princeton he attended N.Y.U. Law School, rooming with Classmate Larry Horn. His career was in legal publication sales. A lifelong resident of New York State, Jim resided in Suffern with his wife, Ellie. He was active in community affairs, including serving as president of The Antrim Players (the state’s oldest community theater), and head deacon of Suffern Presbyterian Church.


Jim’s wide-ranging interests included stamp-collecting, boating, fishing, and generally enjoying Lake George, where he owned a lakeside cabin. Jim submitted a photo of his cabin den in the 2018 PAW “Show Your Stripes” contest, earning it the title “best Princeton room” for its over-the-top display of Princeton memorabilia. The Class extends its condolences to Ellie; daughters Samantha, Marlo, Mindy, Lauren, Lisa, and Lynda; and grandchildren."



Bob Heinze wrote "George, Tom Mineo, and I moved in the 8 man suite at 222 Dodge Osborn for junior year.  There we joined existing suite occupants Jim Mettler, Ross Odell, Terry Seymour, Pete Cary, and Dan Carmichael (deceased).  My recollection is that we backfilled for Rick Buck, Charlie Emmons, and Gary Wilmore who had moved out after sophomore year and the rest  had desired to keep the suite into junior year.  As I recall, Jim moved out of the 222 suite about the middle of junior year into a single or with someone else as there were some disagreements or friction.  Therefore George, Tom, and I were only roommates of Jim for a semester or less. Jim, Dan, and I belonged to Charter.  The suite split up after junior year with George, Ross and I rooming together senior year My main recollections  of Jim were that he loved to talk about summers at Lake George and play the Fantasticks Album seemingly endlessly.  Interestingly, Lake George appears to have been a factor throughout his life as a photo there appears in our 55th Reunion Book.  In my brief time as a roommate, Jim generally seemed cheery in our own limited personal interactions as I was sharing a different bedroom in the suite with Dan."



Jim and Ellie at his beloved Lake George




In late 2020, Princeton Alumni Weekly asked its readers to send photos of their “Princeton room,” for an online gallery. A. James Mettler ’66 won with the photo above from his family’s cabin on Lake George in upstate New York. The cabin has quite an orange-and-black history: When Mettler’s father, Thomas ’33, bought it in 1956, young James was a shareholder of sorts, contributing $2,500 to the purchase, “saved from cutting lawns and picking and selling blueberries and ground pine” and other odd jobs near the family’s home in West Nyack, N.Y. James eventually acquired the cabin from his dad, in 1975, and has owned it ever since. Today, the walls include a range of Princeton memoribilia, from diplomas to banners for the Classes of ’66 and ’33."


Lanny Jones writes "Jim was one of the first and finest people I met in the first weeks of our freshman year. We were both on the freshman soccer team, along with a great group of guys, some whom he later roomed with. He was decent, modest, and a very good athlete. He made me feel good about coming to Princeton, a place I had never seen until the day I arrived in freshman week."