James Patrick Stevens, Sr. (or Jim/Jimmy/Jim Bob, as his family lovingly referred to him) passed away on St. Patrick’s Day after valiantly battling an unexpected illness while visiting his beloved family in Switzerland.
Jim was born in Warsaw, New York, on January 4, 1950, to Belton and Irene Stevens. He spent his early years playing on his family’s farm. When he was ten his family moved to Jacksonville, and Jim would call The Sunshine State his home for the next 62 years. He graduated from Jacksonville University in 1973 with a BA in Accounting. He obtained his Florida CPA Certificate in 1974 and then worked as an auditor for the City of Jacksonville. In 1978 he met the love of his life, Colleen Cooper, while volunteering for a political campaign. In 1979 they were married at the Immaculate Conception Church of Jacksonville. Shortly thereafter they moved to Ft. Lauderdale for Jim to attend law school. He received his JD from Nova University Law Center in 1982, becoming a member of the Florida Bar. He then furthered his education by graduating from the University of Florida with a Masters of Law in Taxation (LLM) in 1983. Jim and Colleen welcomed their first child (Katherine Gale) the same year. After returning to Jacksonville, he became an Associate Attorney at the Law Office of Kenneth G. Anderson, where he specialized in estate planning, wills, and trusts. In 1988 he and Colleen welcomed their second child, a son and Jim’s namesake, James P. Stevens, Jr. (JP). In 1997, he became a member of the firm Anderson & Stevens, P.A. In 2012 he then opened his own law firm, The Law Offices of James P. Stevens, P.A. Jim loved helping clients with complicated legal matters, and his solo practice remained active until his death.
Jim will be best remembered for his contagious laugh and the wonderful way he made people feel. He radiated warmth, kindness, humility, and humor. He was quick-witted, never without a one-liner or a pun to make any situation better. He loved nature and spent many weekends hunting whitetail deer, hogs, and birds in the woods of Williston, Florida and Beaufort, South Carolina. However, for Jim the great outdoors was as much about spending quality time with family as it was about the hunt. He was a family man at heart. Whether it was spending every Thanksgiving and Easter at Boyer’s Ranch, hosting the annual Stevens’ Christmas lunch in Jacksonville, simple walks on the beach with his granddaughter, searching for shark teeth with his brothers, traveling around Europe with his kids, or spending hours in the kitchen cooking and drinking wine with Colleen – as long as family was together, life was good. Jim’s children meant the world to him, and he would proudly detail their latest adventures and accomplishments to anyone who would listen.
Jim was a collector. From a young age, he had a passion for reading and collecting novels and comic books. His interests grew into antique marbles and rare antique artifacts, including is a 17th century carving of “St. George and the Dragon” from Coventry Cathedral in England. Whenever a new guest visited, Jim was giddy to recount the story of his prized statue. Jim was competitive and loved a good, fair fight. He was a student of martial arts which he studied for over 20 years, achieving black belts in Tang Soo Do, Kempo, and the art of Filipino Stick Fighting. Whether at a formal karate competition, casual card games with his brothers, or weekly racquetball with friends, he wanted to win.
Jim was also a dedicated volunteer and community advocate. A resident of San Marco for over 30 years, he was a member of the San Marco Business Association and San Marco Preservation Society, member and past treasurer of the Jacksonville Historical Society, member of the Jacksonville Downtown Rotary Club, Trustee of the Swisher Foundation, and supporter of The Art Center Cooperative, Inc. among other accolades.
Jim is survived by: his devoted wife, Colleen Cooper Stevens, of Jacksonville; his daughter Katherine Stevens Wettler (Thomas and Louisa Wettler) of Rapperswil, Switzerland; and his son Dr. JP Stevens (Megan Reilly) of Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, he is survived by four brothers (Robby, Richard, Charles, John), three sisters (Irene, Melody, Monette) and countless loving cousins, colleagues, and friends.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held on Monday, April 4, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at La Venture Grove, 2375 Moremen Road, Fruit Cove, Florida 32259. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following organizations.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation:
The Art Center Cooperative, Inc: