Longtime civic leader Peavy laid to rest

Published 3:36 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Butler County native and World War II veteran who friends said made Greenville a better place was laid to rest on Thursday.

James Abbott Peavy Sr. died Monday, November 13 at his Greenville home.

Peavy, 92, who was long active with the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life as a cancer survivor, had been battling a reoccurrence of the disease.

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He was a longtime fixture of the Greenville Kiwanis Club, serving as a past president and director of the Butler County Fair and managing the fairground for 20-plus years.

Earlier this fall, the exhibit building at the fairgrounds was named the James Peavy Exhibit Hall in this faithful member’s honor.

“This was a really big surprise,” said Peavy, who was able to attend the ceremony.

Family and Kiwanis club members posed with the new sign – inscribed with the Kiwanis Club emblem and Peavy’s name – which now hangs at the entrance of the fairgrounds’ longtime exhibit hall.

“Up until about a year ago, James was out at the fairgrounds pretty much every day, checking on the buildings and the grounds. One of his favorite things was preparing for the fair every year,” recalled current Fair chairman, Richard Branum. “He had many wonderful fair stories to tell.”

Fellow Kiwanis member Allen Stephenson recalled Peavy as the club’s “anchor.”

“He was such a faithful member for so long, longer than must of us can even remember,” he said.

Well into his 80s, Peavy could be seen at the annual Relay For Life in Butler County, directing fellow cancer survivors to their assigned parking spots.

Peavy, who worked as an electrical engineer for nearly 50 years before retirement, was also an active member and deacon of First Baptist Church and a lifetime member of the Masonic Lodge, Eureka Lodge #64 in Greenville.

He had served on the city council and the city planning commission and served on the Board of Directors at Fort Dale Academy.

“He was just very involved in the community during his life and he left the community a better place,” Stephenson said. “Mr. Peavy will certainly be missed.”