Area says goodbye to “Mr. Mayor”

Frank Lewis | Daily Times Opal Porter, sister of New Boston Mayor Jim Warren, holds onto her husband, Russell Porter, as they listen to the eulogy for Warren delivered by Rodney Barnett at the celebration of life Thursday at New Boston Glenwood High School. Warren passed away on Saturday after an extended illness.

Frank Lewis | Daily Times
A crowd of several hundred people listen as Rodney Barnett (far right) delivers the eulogy for New Boston Mayor Jim Warren Thursday during a celebration of life at New Boston Glenwood High School.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

When well-known political figures pass away, those memorializing them usually talk about their political career. That was not the case at the funeral for long time educator and New Boston Mayor Jim Warren who died Saturday after an extended illness.

“When you have a career in education and in politics not everyone is going to agree with you,” Pastor Gary Heimbach of Cedar Street Church of Christ in Christian Union who delivered the sermon said. “But Jim truly loved others more than he loved himself.”

That was the central theme at the celebration of life held Thursday morning at New Boston Glenwood High School.

“Only heaven will reveal the lives he touched,” Heimbach said. “Quietly, without fanfare, without attracting attention to himself, he made a difference. “

Rodney Barnett, Co-chairman of the Scioto County Republican Party, who delivered the eulogy, talked of the similarities of their lives having both been in the education field for over 30 years.

“He was a great communicator, perhaps with a different style, a different approach, a different demeanor than some,” Barnett told those in attendance. “but was very productive, very much respected and I can attest to the fact I seldom, if ever, heard a disparaging word directed at Mayor Jim Warren.”

Just before the start of the service Barnett said the death of Warren would leave a hole in the Scioto County community.

“His impact will be felt for a long time,” Barnett said. “and, as I will stress in my eulogy, that I hope that our many friends and family members will reach out and honor the request of the Warren family to consider making a donation, be it small or great, to the establishment of the Jim Warren Memorial Park or to continue with the breakfast that he has established or to the church that he so deeply loved (Cedar Street Church). The impact will be felt for a long time.”

Village Councilman Mike Payton worked with Warren in the operation of the village government, said the New Boston Community Building even felt different to him.

“I had not been in the city building until yesterday (Wednesday) since he passed away,” Payton said. “It was just a strange feeling. There was something missing. Without getting religious, it was like a spirit thing.”

Hundreds of people from ordinary everyday citizens to national political figures packed the gym, each reminiscing about the man who had been the face of New Boston for nearly 21 years, seeing it through the process of transitioning from industrial to retail status.

“This job allows me to meet so many people who care about their community and put others ahead of themselves,” U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup told the Daily Times. “I came here for Jim Warren and for his family and for the community. He’s the perfect example of what so much of America is made up of – people that care about the community and the people they live with and wanting to make it better.”

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

comments powered by Disqus