Community says goodbye to James J. #8216;Bear#039; Mains Jr.

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2005

4For more on Mains' legacy see page 1B

By Justin McElroy/The Ironton Tribune

After a lifetime of service to education, the first director of Ohio University Southern, James J. Mains, Jr., passed away Tuesday.

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He was 88 years old.

Mains was, first and foremost, an educator, teaching at St. Joseph High School and Ironton High School. He also served as principal of both those institutions. Mains also headed up the Ironton Catholic School System.

In addition to his high school service, Mains was involved with higher education, not only as an instructor at Ohio University Southern, but also as its first director.

Current OUS dean Dr. Dan Evans had several conversations with his predecessor before naming the Mains Rotunda in the Riffe Center in his honor.

&#8220I think what characterizes Jim Mains is that he was really interested in serving the region, and providing whatever education opportunities to the citizens of the area that were possible,” Evans said. &#8220He dedicated his life to that. His entire life was devoted to trying to provide more educational opportunities to the people of Lawrence County.”

Many in the area also knew Mains as a coach in basketball, baseball and football. In his nine years of coaching he had a 51-31-4 record. He was also honored as a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

One of Mains' proudest achievements was being named the Ironton Sports Day Honoree in 1978. It was a moment of notoriety for a man that Evans said usually preferred to give the spotlight to others.

&#8220In many ways, he was one of those people who was sort of in the background making things happen,” Evans said. &#8220He'll be missed.”

Mains' funeral will take place at St. Joseph Catholic Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday. A full obituary can be found on page 6A.