James Stevenson III of Mt. Lebanon was a force in the Pittsburgh real estate and insurance community, but he's also remembered for his achievements as an athlete.
Prior to the start of his business career, Mr. Stevenson excelled in track and field, starting at Mt. Lebanon High School, where he was the 1961 WPIAL shot put champion, and continuing at Penn State University, where he still holds the record for the longest javelin throw.
He won the AAU Olympic trials in javelin in New York in 1964, but faltered during a second round of trials in Los Angeles and was left off the U.S. Olympic team. Newspapers described a "murderous" training regimen that included hours of running and weightlifting and raw eggs and honey for breakfast.
"In my 10 years of college coaching, I never have seen a boy more devoted to a particular track event than Jim Stevenson III," his coach at Penn State said at the time.
Mr. Stevenson, who went on to become the third generation at the helm of the family business, Stevenson Williams Co., died Aug. 7 of heart failure at the age of 69.
His son, Robert, of Upper St. Clair, who followed in his father's footsteps at Penn State, said it was always imposing walking into the locker room and seeing his record.
"He didn't speak a lot about his time [training for] the Olympics," his son said. "He was humble, modest and thankful for what he had. He loved volunteering and coaching kids in Baldwin, Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair on how to throw the javelin and shot put."
Mr. Stevenson served as president of Stevenson Williams Co., based in Mt. Lebanon, succeeding his father, grandfather and great uncle in that capacity.
Founded in 1919, Stevenson Williams -- formerly Stevenson, Williams and Johnston -- was originally based Downtown. Company leaders saw the potential of the undeveloped farmland south of the city as a residential area. The opening of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924 and the Route 19 corridor made the area easily accessible to home buyers, and the south suburbs began to grow. The company relocated to Mt. Lebanon, where it grew to include insurance sales, mortgage financing and property management.
During Mr. Stevenson's tenure as president, he was credited with automating the accounting division and building and expanding the company's insurance sales division.
He served as president of the Mt. Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and was an avid golfer.
"He tried to instill values in all of us," Robert Stevenson said. "He wanted us to be kind to everyone and treat them with dignity and respect."
He is survived by three other children: James IV of Bethel Park, Leslie Grace of Evanston, Ill., and Caroline of Mt. Lebanon; his brother, Tom of Mt. Lebanon; and seven grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Beinhauer Mortuary, 2828 Washington Road, Peters. Burial will follow at Forest Lawn Gardens in Peters.
Memorial donations may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 960 Penn Ave., Suite 1000, Pittsburgh 15222 or Medical Rescue Team South Authority, 315 Cypress Way, Pittsburgh 15228.