James "Jim" O. Phebus, 73, of Lehigh Acres, died Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, of heart failure. He had been in failing health for the past few years.
He was born in Steubenville, Ohio, the son of the late Obie Wylie Phebus and Victoria Phebus. The family moved to Steubenville, Ohio, in 1958.
He served his country after joining the U.S. Air Force, where he was an airman for six years.
James ‘Jim’ O. Phebus
He lived in Weirton, W.Va., and worked for U.S. Steel for about 12 years before he retired and moved to Lehigh Acres.
When he came to Lehigh Acres, he opened up and operated Our Creations Florist and later the Denny Travel Agency on Homestead Road.
He first developed Victoria's Station, and named it in honor or his mother. It was a small shopping center in which the flower shop was located and later the travel agency.
In more recent years, the travel agency moved to 411 Lee Blvd. and he sold the flower business.
He was a member of the American Legion, the Araba Shrine Temple, the Scottish Rites, the former Lehigh Players, and the Ohio and West Virginia clubs.
He was a longtime volunteer with the Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce and was honorary mayor of Lehigh Acres for at least two times.
Many will remember him as the volunteer who gave his time to the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce on Monday afternoons. He was forced to quit that volunteering position due to bad health.
He was also a longtime volunteer with Lehigh Community Services, going back to when Liz Eilf was the director. He also volunteered for Rae Nicely, the present executive director.
He took great delight at Christmas time when he helped to pass out toys to needy children.
He was also a "pioneer" in one of the Lehigh Spring Festival Parades, which honors people who have lived in Lehigh for an extended period of time.
He was well-liked and had many friends in Lehigh and was always available when someone needed him to help out.
He is survived by his brother, Robert "Bob" (Heidi) Phebus of Tampa; sister, Marge Bumbaugh of Ocala, Fla.; and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a sister, Carol Jones; and his life partner, Bob Gross of Lehigh Acres.
A celebration of life service was held Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, at the Hodges-Farley Funeral Home, with the Pastor Glenna Tibs of the First Christian Church officiating. Entombment was held at the Fort Myers Memorial Gardens, with military honors.
Condolences may be expressed online at: www.farleyfuneral.com.