The Rev. James E. Cantler, a longtime rector at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, died Aug. 21 of pulmonary fibrosis at a Charleston, S.C., hospital. He was 78.
Born in Baltimore, Mr. Cantler was a 1943 graduate of St. Paul's School, which he attended on a choral scholarship. Upon graduation, he served in the Navy during World War II.
In 1950, he graduated from Washington and Lee University in Virginia. He was ordained a priest in 1954 after attending seminary in Virginia. He later earned a master's degree in education from the Johns Hopkins University and did advanced study at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore.
Mr. Cantler was the first resident chaplain of St. Paul's School and spent 12 years in that job. In 1965, he became rector of St. Paul's Parish in Centreville. During his tenure there he was a founder of the Queen Anne's Youth Center and served on the county board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
In 1972, he returned to Baltimore where he became rector of St. Bartholomew's. He served on many boards and won many awards, including the annual Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
He retired in 1990 and was recognized for his work by the governor of Maryland and the mayor of Baltimore.
After his retirement he moved to Charleston, where he served as an interim rector at various churches.
A memorial service was held yesterday at St. Bartholomew's Church.
His first wife, the former Anne English Montague Stoney, died in 1993. He is survived by his wife of 10 years, the former Elizabeth Cauthen Gilbreth; two sons, William Cantler of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Stoney Cantler of Easthampton, Mass.; a daughter, Anne Fulwiler of Baltimore; and six grandchildren.