Stephen Frank James Jr., age 64, of Grove City, Ohio, passed away unexpectedly and heartbreakingly too soon on April 15, 2022. Steve was born December 15, 1957 in Columbus, Ohio to the late Stephen and Olivia James. Steve is survived by his sister, Cherlyn Bowman, brother, Ernest L. James, daughter, Jennifer (Michael) Reber, son, Jeffrey (Kathleen) James, grandchildren Preston, Reagan, and Brennan Reber, and Jace and Jax James. Steve is also survived by his uncle, Ernest P. (Shirley) James, many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, and wonderful friends.
Steve graduated from Bishop Ready High School in 1975 and Marietta College in 1980, where he was a beloved member of Suite 301. During his career at Marietta, Steve was a two-sport letterman. He excelled in football and wrestling, earning 4 letters in each sport. In football, he was team captain his senior year, leading it in scoring as a running back, and in tackles as a linebacker. He was a two-time First Team All-OAC selection and won the Critchfield Award his senior year as OAC’s Outstanding Defensive Back.
Steve’s wrestling career was just as impressive. He was undefeated during the regular season throughout his career, posting a 57-0 record in the 177/190 lb. division. He won 4 consecutive OAC championships and was captain his senior year. He posted a 16-4 match record in NCAA championships on the regional and national levels, and won the Way-Weigelt as the Outstanding Male Athlete. Steve was inducted into the Hall of Fame for football and wrestling at both Bishop Ready and Marietta College. He was also one of Marietta’s 100 Greatest Athletes of All Time.
Steve’s passion for sports continued on throughout his 40+ years officiating career. He was selected for induction into the OHSAA Officiating Hall of Fame. Steve looked forward to working the state high school wrestling tournament every year.
Steve had a lengthy career in the mortgage industry that included The Associates, Bank One, Huntington, Chase and Bisys, where he met many co-workers that turned into lifelong friends.
You could find Steve most nights at Plank’s, Roosters, or Emelio’s with a cold CBC IPA and a plate of half-baked chicken wings. Steve loved coaching Jen and Jeff’s young sports teams and talked often of the fond memories made. He also enjoyed cooking big meals for his family, classic cars, riding motorcycles, and watching his grandkids play ball.
Steve was a friend to all and was loved by all. He loved his kids and grandkids more than anything and would do anything for them. His bright smile matched his larger-than-life personality. He touched so many lives in his 64 years with his patience, positive attitude, outgoing personality, and giving heart. He will be forever missed, but never forgotten.