Jim Benge was a 3 sport athlete at Stivers earning 2 letters in football, 2 letters in basketball and 3 letters in baseball. Although baseball was his favorite and best sport, Jim made basketball his lifelong competitive love even to the day he died in 2010.
Jim was a 2 year starter at defensive end on the football squad and was noted as a tough defender and a sure tackler. In basketball, Jim was a back-up forward-center on the 1951 and 1952 city championship teams. He played an important role of the bench to spell Stivers Hall of Famers Jack Tinsley, Dale Fairchild and Vern Woods. He was a good rebounder and played strong defense. Jim was an outstanding left handed pitcher and played a key role in Stivers winning the 1952 city baseball championship. He was noted for being “fast and just wild enough” to keep hitters loose in the batters box.
After a successful baseball career at Stivers, Jim pitched several years in the Dayton amateur leagues and in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Jim Benge was the subject of a feature article in the Dayton Daily News on January 27, 1998 describing active, healthy seniors who perform extraordinary activities. Jim was a regular basketballer at the Kettering YMCA, playing at least 3 times weekly against men half his age. Jim always looked for a competitive game and according to son, Mike – “Dad’s something else, always plays hurt, but keeps on playing. He believed devoutly in the benefits of basketball”.
Jim was married to his wife, Bonnie, for over 30 years. His two sons, Mike and Chris, have great memories playing pick-up games with their dad and grandson. Jim had a career in sales, but his real love was competing on the basketball court. He died unexpectedly on August 21, 2010, following a friendly basketball game.