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James R. Biven Obituary - Hill Funeral Home


Family will receive friends 1:00 to 3:00 PM, Sunday, July 9, 2023 at Westerville Christian Church, 471 E. College Ave., Westerville where services will be held at 3:00 PM Sunday.

Sending to family many prayers. Jim, was a good man with always a smile.
was a pleasure to work with him at Century 21 Joe Walker. A great family man and very active in his community and gave to the community.

Sandy Laing

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Obituary for James R. Biven

James R. Biven 1934-2023

James R. Biven

09/09/1934 - 07/02/2023

James R. “Jim” Biven died peacefully at home in the arms of his four beloved children on Sunday, July 2, 2023 after a brief illness.

Jim was born on 9/9/1934 to Cecil Carter Biven and Rachel Marietta Buck Biven and attended Worthington schools. His whole life has been centered on service to others - early evidence of this was his paper route in 8th grade when he was recognized for setting a record for increasing the number of customers. Even then he said his secret of success was to “be nice to the customers, don't walk on their grass, and do what makes them happy.” This describes Jim’s customer service values perfectly.

Jim graduated from (Thomas) Worthington High school in1952 where he was a track star and played baseball and basketball. He subsequently attended Ohio State University studying forestry and in his early career, worked various construction jobs around Ohio with the Corps of Engineers. Jim moved his family to Westerville in 1957 and worked for Columbia Gas as a telephone contact supervisor for 9 years. He went to work for Roush Hardware in 1966 as the indoor manager of sporting goods and the automotive department – later moving to Roush Sporting goods where he was retail manager and part owner. His focus remained on excellent customer service and he was well known in the community for such.

Jim was a member of the Westerville Chamber of Commerce board of trustees 1978-1985, then President of that board from 1981-1982 and was instrumental in bringing St. Ann's Hospital to Westerville during his tenure. He also joined the Westerville Rotary club in 1978 and was Rotarian of the year in 1982 – an honor of which he was particularly proud – and served as Club President from 1985-1986.

Jim served on the Board of Westerville Rotary Elderly Housing and was a key member of the committee that conceptualized and established the Harris-Askins House in 1985. A notorious early riser, he was a charter member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Westerville (1994) and remained active in Rotary for the rest of his life.

Jim retired from Roush Sporting Goods in 1992 and started a second very successful career as real estate agent with Century 21 Joe Walker, where his customer service and leadership skills earned him several awards. After retiring from real estate in 2010, Jim was busier than ever working countless hours in the Sunrise Rotary club, where he managed the front table every week and served as club photographer for all Rotary events. During his tenure in Rotary he was the epitome of Service Above Self and was always ready with a big smile and bear hug for all. His pet project was the Memorial Day Field of Heroes for which he has been on the driving committee since the beginning and was heavily involved in conceptualization and construction of the tribute area each year. In 2015 Jim was awarded the Westerville Rotary’s A. Monroe Courtright award which recognizes outstanding community service by a leader or volunteer that is both significant and sustained.

Jim served on the Board of Honor Flight Columbus and spent much time recruiting participants, fundraising, and promoting Honor Flight in the community. He was a member of the ground crew, loading and unloading every flight, and served as a guardian. Jim always said that because he was unable to serve in the military, Honor Flight was his way of honoring those who did serve and to pay them back in some way. Jim was a long-time member of Westerville Christian Church, often serving as head usher and rarely missed a Sunday until he became ill.

Jim spent his spare time baking cookies for and helping out his neighbors, enjoying his 4 children, 14 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren – all of whom were completely adored. Jim enjoyed woodworking - usually building something for someone else – one recent project close to his heart was building 700 crosses for the memorial field at the Field of Heroes. Jim was a humble man and a true servant, preferring to work behind the scenes without accolades. There he accomplished much and was a beloved member of every club, committee, or organization of which he was a part.

Most of all,Jim loved his family and spent every possible moment with his kids and grandkids – he was always up for an adventure and ready for “What’s next?” No one ever doubted his love for them. Jim was a wonderful father, grandfather, leader, and friend to his large family and will be missed tremendously. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Cecil and Rachel Biven; former spouse of 37 years and mother of his children, Jeanne (Ramey) Biven; and grandson, Donnie Raver. Remaining to treasure his memory are his four children: Linda (Russ) Shields, Cindy (Ed) Hale, James (Peggy) Biven Jr., Karen (Royce) Wood, 13 grandchildren: Marc, David, Phillip, Elizabeth, Kevin, Bryan, Mike, Jeremiah, Stacey, Kristy, Nicholas, Lea, and Steven; 29 great grandchildren, one great-great grandchild (with another on the way!); his beloved sister Nancy Thatcher, several nieces and nephews and countless friends and associates, many of whom he considered to be and felt like family, and the entire city of Westerville. There will never be another like him.

“He has taken his bright candle into another room where we cannot follow; but everyone can see where he has been by all the little lights he left behind.”  

Family will receive friends 1:00 to 3:00 PM, Sunday, July 9, 2023 at Westerville Christian Church, 471 E. College Ave., Westerville where services will be held at 3:00 PM Sunday.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to either Westerville Sunrise Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 1200 Westerville, OH 43086-1200, Honor Flight, Columbus, PO Box 20133, Columbus, OH 43220 or Westerville Christian Church, 471 E. College Ave., Westerville, OH 43081.