James L. Boeringer, the organist at Fifth Church of Christ Scientist in Washington and a former musician and professor of music at colleges in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, North Carolina and South Dakota, died Jan. 12 at Montgomery Hospice’s Casey House in Rockville. He was 83 and lived in Silver Spring.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Grace Boeringer.

Dr. Boeringer’s career in music spanned more than 50 years in churches and colleges. He came to Washington in 1994 and, until 2000, played the organ at the Church of the Pilgrims in the District. From 2000 until 2007, he was at Messiah Lutheran Church in Germantown, Md., and then moved to the Fifth Church of Christ Scientist, where he played his last service two weeks before he died.

James Leslie Boeringer was born in Pittsburgh and graduated in 1952 from the College of Wooster in Ohio. He received a master’s degree in musicology from Columbia University in 1954 and a doctorate in sacred music in 1964 from Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Before moving to the Washington area, Dr. Boeringer was a professor and university organist at the University of South Dakota, Oklahoma Baptist University and Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. He also had been director of the Moravian Music Foundation in Winston-Salem, N.C.

His avocations included restoring log cabins, writing fiction and gardening.

Survivors include his wife since 1955, Grace Nocera Boeringer of Silver Spring; three children, Daniel Boeringer of Baltimore, Lisa Stocker of Fort Mill, S.C., and Greta Boeringer of Greenbelt, Md.; and a brother.

— Bart Barnes