James M. Stivers Memorial Service
May 27, 2010 11:00 a.m.
Mayor Bill Bogaard
JIM STIVERS: HIS FAMILY INCLUDES PASADENA
James N. Stivers, a longtime community volunteer, died on May 17, 2010. Mayor Bogaard joined with others to pay tribute to Mr. Stivers at a public memorial service conducted at the Rose Bowl.
Ten days ago, after a short illness, in the presence of Jean, his beloved wife of nearly 70 years, and members of his family as well as a few of his countless friends, Jim Stivers drew his last breath and brought to a close a truly amazing record of community service, a record that may never be equaled. For over five decades, Jim served and strengthened the City of Pasadena, and inspired all who had the privilege of knowing him.
What an honor it is for me to have this opportunity to join in the celebration of his life, and to attempt to express the gratitude of our great City for all that Jim Stivers contributed over the years!
There is no doubt: Jim Stivers was Pasadena’s No. 1 volunteer, shaping and then supporting many institutions in the City, including the Tournament of Roses, the Pasadena Convention Center, the Pasadena Unified School District, and the world famous Rose Bowl. It was Jim Stivers who suggested that this great football venue is “America’s Stadium”.
Jim’s commitment to Pasadena simply knew no bounds, and in the course of his work he established strong relationships with community leaders in every corner of town. There is no City Manager who has not been a friend, his associate and his confidant, and the same can be said for Pasadena’s Police and Fire Chiefs. Jim had a way with people, and his friends quickly understood that his approach was to support others and be helpful in every way that he could.
It could not be more appropriate that we gather for this event in the Rose Bowl. During the last couple of decades at least, it was the Rose Bowl that most held Jim’s loyal and productive attention, and which most benefitted from his time and talent. In the course of his work here, Jim explored and examined the Rose Bowl—and this is true for the Convention Center in the past—not as a patron just to have fun—although I don’t know anyone who seemed to enjoy life more—but to consider ways to make the facilities better serve our community. For him, this was not service or a sacrifice; it was the only meaningful way of life.
During this period, every project to improve or repair the Rose Bowl, to assure its long term well being and its suitability for great events, has borne the mark of Jim Stivers. As a community, we have much to be thankful for to him.
Jim had a wonderful family, his wife Jean, three children, James, David and Kathleen, five grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. We will hear in a few moments about Jim’s role in supporting and loving his family from his granddaughter Tanya.
But the family of Jim Stivers extends beyond any traditional notion of family membership. Many of us looked to him as a mentor, as a father figure, as a person to whom the most private confidences could be shared. As we celebrate his life, if we are open to redefining “family” to include those who loved and were devoted to him, and to whom he was devoted, then a very large number us here have lost a member of the family.
I cherish his confidence in me and his support for my work. In the many years of our relationship, he rarely made a request of me. Our conversations focused on the needs of the community and on possible solutions, and always his question was, “How can I help?”
Our hearts and prayers go out to Jean and all of the family. They have lost a patriarch, and Pasadena has lost a person of strength and support through good times and bad. Today we are lonelier. Someone is gone from our lives—who offered the certainty of support—and someone is gone from Pasadena—who was the certainty of honor.
The City has been significantly strengthened by Jim’s presence and his power. Now we know that Jim has found peace, but we can imagine the place to which he has gone—supposedly for a well deserved rest—might never be the same. May God enjoy him. We did for 90 years.