James R. Owen of Batavia, long known as “the Mayor of Redfield Parkway,” has passed away.
Owen, who taught at Hamburg High School from 1968 to 2003, had subsequently been a substitute teacher in the Batavia City School District. Batavia City School District Superintendent Jason Smith told the school district community of Owen’s death in a letter written Thursday night.
“It is with great sadness that I pass along the news that a beloved member of our BCSD community, Jim Owen, has passed away after his courageous battle with cancer,” Smith wrote.
In July, the Batavia City Council honored Owen with a proclamation for his years of service to the city and the Redfield Parkway neighborhood.
“After retirement from Hamburg Central schools, Jim returned to his childhood home at 2 Redfield Parkway. Jim immediately got to work, substituting at Batavia schools and assisting with all things Redfield Parkway. Jim was named ‘the Mayor of Redfield Parkway’ because he participates in activities at Redfield Parkway and acts as an ambassador for the community at many events. Jim loves Redfield Parkway and has continued to work hard after his sister, Kathy, passed on, to keep the Parkway’s tradition alive,” Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. read in a proclamation at the time. “Jim has a great sense of humor, but takes his volunteerism and community service seriously, and is an integral part of the spirit of the city of Batavia.”
Owen, son of Frank and Natalie Walker Owen, made Redfield Parkway part of his life for nearly eight decades. He grew up at 2 Redfield Parkway with his brother and sister, Robert and Kathy. His father, Frank Owen, started the Batavia High School Band in 1930.
Jim Owen graduated from Batavia High School in 1961 before attending Morrisville Institute of Technology and, later, Rochester Institute of Technology. He taught in Sackets Harbor and later in the Hamburg Central School District, where he coached cross country for about 35 years.
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