Welcome to the memorial page for

C. Gilbert " Gib " James, Jr.

February 20, 1924 ~ January 5, 2018 (age 93)


C. Gilbert “Gib” James Jr. died peacefully at home on Friday evening, January 5th. Gib was born on February 20, 1924 in Youngstown, the son of C. Gilbert James and Doris Renner James.

Gib was a graduate of St. Edward and The Rayen School. He attended Kenyon College, the University of Arizona and Youngstown College. Gib served in the United States Army as a Lieutenant during World War II. He married Adeline W. James in 1946 with whom he shared his life until her death in 2002.

He was in business his whole life with his brother William T. James II where they built and operated James & Sons Insurance Company for over 70 years. Gib and Bill along with their family built Forge Industries Inc. from the remnants of the George Renner Brewing Company in Akron and the Renner Brewing Company in Youngstown which were created by their Great Grandfather and Grandfather, respectively. These businesses became Forge Industries Inc. and have included the global supply chain company BDI, Akron Gear & Engineering Inc. and Miller Spreader Company.

Gib James was an ardent supporter of the community and many organizations including service as a trustee and volunteer for the Butler Institute of American Art, the Mahoning County Agricultural Society (Canfield Fair), the Rayen Foundation, the Swanston Foundation, the Buechner Foundation, the Youngstown Foundation, the Youngstown Playhouse, the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Arms Museum and the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, the Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown, the Children’s Service Board, the International Foundation, the Youngstown Board of Trade, the YWCA, the Air Reserve Base Community Council, the Youngstown and Mahoning County Public Library, the Museum of Labor and Industry (Youngstown Steel Museum), SMARTS and Oak Hill Cemetery. Gib served on the Stambaugh Stadium Fund Drive for Youngstown State University, the YSU International Student Center and the YSU Philosophy Circle.

Gib served on the Board of Directors of the Canfield Fair since 1966 and was a past president. He and his friend Bob Rose created the Western Reserve Village from scratch using abandoned buildings and dilapidated structures. He also created the Steel Garden at the Arms Museum and the Medical Museum formerly at St. Elizabeth Medical Center. 

He was recognized as the Youngstown Area Arts Council Man of the Year, the Rayen School Hall of Fame, the Buckeye Elks Private Sector Service Award, the Better Business Bureau Service Award, the YWCA Man of the Year and the YSU Alumni Association Distinguished Citizen. He was a member of the Regional Board of Directors of Society Bank. In 1990, Gib was awarded an Honorary Degree from Youngstown State University and gave the commencement address for the graduation class where he said: “I was given certain things when I got here and the least I can do is give something back before I go.” He did.

Gib is survived by his brother Bill James, his daughter Elizabeth Berberich (Steve) In Los Angeles, his daughter Mary James Lipinsky, son Carl James in Youngstown and grandsons Thomas Lipinsky (fiancé Grace) in Boston, Alexander Lipinsky (Kelsey) in Cleveland and step-grandsons William Nagel (Angel) of New York City and Khepri Polite of Youngstown. He is also survived by his Team Gib of caregivers who cared for Gib up to the end: Cindy Alcroft, Marta Bruner, Barbra Zets, Kristi Boso, Georgeann Colantone, Dave Williams and Ken Griswold at The Farm as well as his former colleagues at James & Sons Insurance.

Gib was predeceased by his wife Adeline Wick James, his daughter-in-law Annie Finnerty James, his sister-in-law Martha Gessner James, his nephew Thomas James and his parents as well as many dear cousins.

A Mass of Christian Burial  will be held at St. Patricks Church in Youngstown on Friday, January 12th at 11:00 am., celebrated by Rev. Edward P. Noga, Friends may call at the Fox Funeral Home on Thursday, January 11th from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Material contributions may be made to the Butler Institute of American Art, 524 Wick Avenue, Youngstown, Ohio 44505.

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